Residents’ groups from Sydney's west and inner-west came together in a protest outside NSW Minister for WestConnex Stuart Ayres’ electorate office in Penrith on June 5. New tolls are about to be introduced on the M4 motorway as part of the giant tollway and tunnel scam that is WestConnex.
Commuters from western Sydney will be charged $2000 a year in the new M4 tolls, according to a letter from Penrith Valley Community Unions NSW (PVCU) that was delivered to Ayres' office.
"Imposing tolls on road users in an area where population growth, employment needs and failed public transport policy is forcing more and more people onto roads is a cynical cash grab,” the letter read.
“To do so on a piece of road that was already paid for by taxpayers years ago and to use this money to pay for another privately-operated toll road is utterly excessive and delivering Western Sydney into the hands of the private sector with 43 years of tolls is offensive.
"Charging residents of Western Sydney thousands of dollars more each year to use an old road is bad enough but then using this money to pay for a new road which is already causing unnecessary destruction and risking the health and safety of residents in Sydney's inner west is just crazy.
“You and your government have put the interests of big business ahead of the interests of citizens and tax payers and we residents of the west and the inner west demand that your government scrap the toll and stop WestConnex."
As the protesters marched on Ayres’ office, PVCU Secretary Mary Court led with the chant: "No M4 tolls, no WestCONnex! Stand up, fight back!" This sent a powerful challenge to the NSW government's crude divide-and-rule tactics to force through the WestConnex tollway scam.
Photos by Peter Boyle for Green Left Weekly: