Australia

An ever growing number of Sydneysiders are now aware that WestConnex will not solve Sydney’s traffic problems — instead it will only worsen the chaos.

Many also see that its $16.8 billion budget has been seriously underestimated: it is more like the $45 billion that SGS Economics, the private contractor engaged by the City of Sydney indicated. This figure includes the additional work needed to connect the tollway with local road networks, costs that were deliberately excluded to downplay the project spend.

It is increasingly clear that we need more public transport to reduce air-polluting travel and provide much-needed sustainable jobs.

But state governments are captive to the road industry. The result is poor planning, expanding and expensive road tolls and more carbon pollution.

The following is the Socialist Alliance’s Sustainable Transport policy — an example of what an alternative transport plan could look like.

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La Trobe University Latin American studies lecturer Ralph Newmark told a meeting of 80 people on February 20 that the English-speaking media misrepresents the causes of the crisis in Venezuela.

The meeting was organised by the newly-formed Venezuela Solidarity Campaign.

Newmark said the crisis is being caused by external pressure from the United States and internally by the Venezuelan middle and upper class who oppose the government’s pro-poor measures.

“We’re mad as hell and we’re not taking it anymore!” Mary Court, secretary of the Penrith Valley Combined Unions (PVCU) and No M4 Toll, told the Don’t Mess With the West rally on February 16.

“Western Sydney will rise up; we’re not a dumping ground for Sydney’s problems”, Court said. “The ‘toll tax’ on the M4 Motorway is an assault … We are being forced to pay this M4 toll until 2060, increasing at a rate much higher than inflation, to pay for the Coalition state government’s cost blow-outs elsewhere.

The Socialist Alliance will be running three Hunter-based candidates in the March 23 NSW state elections.

Following its successful November state election campaign, the Victorian Socialists held its inaugural conference on February 16, attended by more than 230 members.

The Socialist Alliance has a vision for a better world — and we are running in the federal election to share that vision and help make it become a reality.

Grandmothers Against Removals rallied in Sydney on February 13 against new state laws that are set to further raise the rate of forced removals.

Hundreds of people marched through Newtown, Sydney, against Adani’s proposed Carmichael mega coalmine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin, on February 17.

Protesters demanded local Labor MP Anthony Albanese and his party come out against the mine.

School students led the march and called for support for their March 15 School Strike 4 Climate.

Residents from Annandale and Rozelle, in Sydney’s inner west, protested against WestConnex on February 15. The controversial $17 billion WestConnex tollway is set to destroy a much-used park and cycle track in the area.

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