Freeze Federal Funding of WestConnex
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WestConnex is a proposed 33 km long tollway going through the inner suburbs of Sydney connecting the M4 and M5. Its current cost is a massive $16.8 billion, a cost to be met by taxpayers and heavy tolls. To date the NSW Government has committed $1.5 billion and obtained a commercial loan of $1.5 billion to fund the project. The Federal Government has committed a $1.8 billion grant and $2 billion loan for the project. This still leaves a funding gap of $10 billion, which will probably have to be met by the Federal Government committing further taxpayer funds.
In spite of this massive expense, all independent transport experts say that WestConnex will increase, not reduce, traffic congestion. It will also divert funds that could otherwise be spent on public transport improvements.
The WestConnex tollway has been surrounded by controversy and increasing community opposition. An incoming Labor Government would have the ability to freeze Federal funding for it.
There is $300 million in Federal grant funding and a $2 billion Federal loan which is not due to be finalised and paid until after the election on July 2. An incoming Federal government has the power to stop these payments.
WE CALL ON LABOR TO COMMIT TO CANCELLING THESE PAYMENTS AND ANY FUTURE FUNDING SHOULD A FEDERAL LABOR GOVERNMENT BE ELECTED.
WestConnex is a disaster on many levels:
- Contrary to the NSW Government’s spurious claims that the proposed tollroad will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it would encourage car travel creating more traffic congestion and carbon emissions.
- Western Sydney needs better public transport services to the city and within Western Sydney, not an extra $100 a week per car in tolls.
- Even the NSW Government’s Environmental Impact Statement states this road will not work to reduce traffic congestion even in the medium term.
- It is massively expensive and the cost is spiraling out of control. It has increased by 68% in two years and is diverting money from other priorities such as public transport, schools and hospitals.
- The impact of WestConnex on communities in the inner west is devastating. It is heartbreaking to visit Haberfield as WestConnex smashes homes to the ground, displaces long-term residents, takes over green space and destroys trees.
- A Senate inquiry has been asked to investigate construction firm Leighton's involvement in the project after evidence about offshore bribery by a former executive came to light.
- It is time to change track as cities in advanced countries around the world are doing, and put the money into public and active transport instead of roads.
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