Westconnex is a big issue in the NSW state election that will be held this Saturday. For thousands of Sydney residents from Parramatta to inner Sydney, it is perhaps the biggest issue. The majority of people know that what we need most is a vastly improved public transport system across the city. Despite this, both major parties offer us two different versions of the Westconnex. Only the Greens oppose the Westconnex.
The Baird government's Westconnex policy involves a widened M4 tollway that will then be extended through tunnels with various exits until it reaches Rozelle. Another tunnel would be built to meet a duplicate M5 at St Peters. The LNP has not released its full business case or clearly identified final routes or location of smoke stacks.
Labor's policy is even more confused. Labor leader Luke Foley told the ABC this morning that he doesn't like the 'brand' Westconnex but he definitely intends to bring a M4 to the city. Labor will also duplicate the M5. The route has not been identified but it will be towards Port Botany rather than St Peters.
Both major parties support the first stage of Westconnex, a widening of the M4 that is due to begin soon. A number of serious environmental problems were identified in the Environmental Impact Statement, including the fact that up until the late 2020s, traffic will increase on Parramatta Rd. Most submissions to the M4 widening EIS either rejected or raised serious concerns about the project. On some sections of the M4, modelling showed that nitrogen oxide would be above safe levels.
While being interviewed by the ABC on Monday, ALP leader Luke Foley was asked by a caller why he won't call a halt to the next stage of the Westconnex that consists of a tunnel from Homebush Bay drive to Haberfield and Ashfield in the Inner West. He repeated that his goal was bring the M4 to the CBD. In order not to lose votes in the Inner West where the Westconnex is hugely unpopular, Labor candidates have either refused to engage with detailed questions, given contradictory answers in different electorates or even said they are opposed to the Westconnex.
You will find more about my position on Westconnex in my speech at the City of Sydney Wrong Way Turn Back No Westconnex meeting.
Each stage of the Westconnex is its own complex story affecting different communities and habitats. But like most stories, it needs to be explained clearly. So I've had a go at explaining the differences between the policies of the three parties in an infographic.
I donated to the Greens campaign in Newtown and actively supported Jenny Leong's campaign in other ways.