Motorway protest in Sydney

May 28, 1997

Motorway protest in Sydney

By Gus Gulson

SYDNEY — On May 18 about 60 people from Freeway Busters and the Coalition of Transport Action Groups staged a demonstration at the community open day of the M2 motorway. The open day was held to celebrate the completion of the road.

"We're here today to remind people of the other side of the story. Behind all the glossy pamphlets and slick promotion lies a lot of deceit and ugliness", said Libby Ellis, spokesperson for Freeway Busters.

"The ridiculous thing about today is that it's being promoted as a community celebration. The truth of the matter is that this road has carved through the community, destroyed the natural environment and ruined people's lives. The road builders are allowing the community to walk on the road for one day and are then condemning it to 45 years of noise pollution, traffic and toxic fumes."

The officially organised day included a bicycle ride, a half-marathon run, a walk, sausage sizzles and stalls.

"We realised that we'd have a captive audience of several thousand people, and therefore opted for a 'public-friendly' demo that would have a focus on education", said Ellis.

The demonstration consisted of an information stall, complete with a photographic record of M2 destruction, and a street theatre march with characters symbolising the hidden costs of the motorway.

"The M2 is being called 'the way of the future', but it's out-of-date technology", said Ellis. "Other cities in the world have abandoned motorway building because they've realised that it only makes traffic problems worse, and yet the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority persists in pushing through these monsters.

"Just because the M2 is built doesn't mean we've given up. What we need to do is to make sure that it's the last of its kind."

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