Sydney anti-tollway activists call February rally

A coalition of anti-tollway groups has called for a mass rally early next year to bring together communities fighting against the controversial $18 billion WestConnex tollway and other disastrous road projects being pushed by the NSW Coalition government. The rally is planned for February 17 at 2pm.

Groups sponsoring the rally include: WestConnex Action Group; Stop WestConnex Glebe-Forest Lodge; WestCon Community Action Groups Haberfield and Ashfield; WestConnex Direct Action; Penrith Valley Community Unions; Newtown Residents Against WestConnex; No M4 Toll; No WestConnex: Public Transport Not Motorways; Northern Residents Tunnels Action Group; F6 Action; and Cyclists Against WestConnex.

Further endorsements include: WestConnex Direct Action; Rozelle Against WestConnex; Leichhardt Against WestConnex; Camperdown Residents Against WestConnex; Ecotransit NSW; Restore Inner West Line; and Friends of Erskineville.

The February action is intended to bring together the rising number of residents opposed to WestConnex and the other tollway projects, which together are making Sydney "the tollway capital of the world". As the government comes under growing criticism for transport policies that favour private roads and rail over public transport, it is important to unite all these forces to demonstrate that the majority of communities reject these policies.

Meanwhile, lively public meetings have been held in Lilyfield and Leichhardt, sponsored by the Inner West Council (IWC). Following calls from residents at the Lilyfield meeting, IWC is preparing to organise a local rally in the suburb early next year.

Residents at the Leichhardt meeting insisted the council should oppose WestConnex outright, rather than limit itself to amelioration measures aimed to ease some of the traffic, noise and air pollution problems caused by the project.

Householders in St Peters, Haberfield and Ashfield are suffering disruption from construction of Westconnex, including all-night noise and vibration, and mental and physical health effects. Following weeks of complaints from residents, the Inner West Council supported a motion from independent councillor Pauline Lockie calling on the government to halt construction and review plans for the next stage of WestConnex and to address major concerns from residents about ongoing noise impacts.

Public opposition to the tollway mania emanating from the NSW Coalition government is growing across Sydney. The challenge for the anti-tollway movement now is to unite the various organisations and campaigns across the city into a massive movement that can force the government to halt its tollway juggernaut once and for all.

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