Campaign to stop the Scarborough tunnel

Issue 

Campaign to stop the Scarborough tunnel

By Sarah Harris

WOLLONGONG — Fifty people at a meeting called by the Wombara Preservation Group (WPG) in Scarborough on May 28 decided to continue the struggle to stop the NSW State Rail Authority (SRA) constructing a large water run-off tunnel at Scarborough.

Backing down on the ALP's pre-election promise to protect the Scarborough coastal and escarpment environment, minister for transport Brian Langton is giving the go-ahead for the tunnel. The South Coast Labour Council has a picket and work ban at the tunnel site.

Construction of the tunnel is a fast-track, cheap solution to prevent land slippage caused by poorly constructed drainage at a closed coal mine nearby. The slippage will affect an SRA railway line and the surrounding residential area.

Ian Miles, an organiser of the WPG, told Green Left Weekly that the anti-tunnel protest "covers environment, safety and social justice concerns. The State Rail Authority seems to be only concerned with protecting the railway line."

The WPG has suggested an alternative solution to the danger of slippage, proposing that the government restore the mine dams and waterways, which were originally badly constructed by the mining company based there.

A march and rally against the Scarborough tunnel will take place in Sydney on June 6 (see page 31 for details).