School students protest Westconnex construction

Students from Haberfield Public School protested on the pedestrian bridge over Parramatta Road on April 10.

About 100 people, including many students from the nearby Haberfield Public School, protested at the pedestrian bridge on Parramatta Road, Haberfield, on April 10, against construction plans for the controversial WestConnex tollway.

Publicity for the protest proclaimed: "Tell WestConnex and the NSW government we oppose four more years of tunnelling, construction, dust and traffic at the Muirs sites, less than 200 metres from Haberfield Public School." The Muirs sites are a large area of former commercial land, now being used by WestConnex as a construction zone.

School students held up placards and chanted: "No to Muirs!" and "What do we want? Clean air! When do we want it? Now!" Protesters carried signs such as, "Honk for Haberfield!" "The dust is deadly!" "WestConnex = Pollution = Murder!," and "Trains, Not Tollways!"

Earlier, protesters from several anti-WestConnex groups held a snap action outside the $200-a-head corporate lunch for WestConnex minister Stuart Ayres, hosted by Roads Australia.

A statement by the groups noted: "Minister for WestConnex refuses to meet with community groups — so we are taking the message to him. Stop WestConnex — Sydney cannot afford it, not the tolls and not the pollution.

"Stuart Ayres is presiding over the $45 billion WestConnex road toll scam, arguably the biggest misallocation of public funds for private gain in Australia's history. Western Sydney residents are being slugged with a $4.74 toll for the M4 — a road paid off 10 years ago — to pay for a road they may never use.

"Meanwhile, our public transport system is in a state of collapse, forcing people into cars when we must urgently act on air pollution and climate change. WestConnex M4 East violates national pollution standards — and the tunnel hasn't even opened.”

The campaign against Westconnex is ramping up, with the Berejiklian Coalition government under increasing pressure. Westconnex promises to be one of the key issues leading up to the NSW state election next March.

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