Blockade of M2 freeway continues


Blockade of M2 freeway continues

By Andrew Hall

SYDNEY — A blockade of the M2 motorway by up to 30 community activists has continued since February 12. Protesters say the tollway, in Sydney's north-west, sacrifices community consultation, environmental protection and a livable urban environment for business profits and parliamentary careers.

It is estimated that the tollway will destroy 110,000 trees, including two national parks. It will have a high impact on a number of endangered species.

The M2 also impacts on Aboriginal heritage: a land claim is currently being prepared by descendants of the Durug people. The noise and air pollution impact on thousands of nearby residents will also be horrific.

These problems were already evident in 1990, when an inquiry rejected plans for the freeway on the grounds of the severe social and economic impact on the environment and the whole region.

However, the Greiner government rejected the findings. Construction of the M2 has been fast-tracked since the contract was signed last August with Hills Motorway Consortium. A major investor in this consortium is the Macquarie Bank, of which Nick Greiner is a director.

Huge subsidies have been promised to the consortium, with the Roads and Traffic Authority and the state government guaranteeing the tollway's profitability for 45 years. This will result in no improvements in, or competition from, public transport for that period, forcing more cars on to the road and creating more pollution.

The Coalition of Transport Action Groups has appealed for more people to support the blockade. For the latest details, call Freeway Busters on (02) 876 2430 or 0411 191 398.

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