Public Transport

More than 100 people joined an emergency protest in Sydney’s Inner West on March 18 to demand an immediate halt to the $17 billion WestConnex tollway project while its social and environmental impacts are fully investigated.

Residents gathered in leafy Buruwan Park in Annandale on March 4 to protest the park’s destruction by NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) as part of the controversial $17 billion WestConnex tollway network.

Satellite imaging analysis released for the first time on March 13 shows much greater ground settlement and potential property damage from WestConnex tunnelling than predicted by the NSW Coalition government and the environmental impacts statements for the project.

Many battles have been fought over the Upfield Line. Here, Socialist councillor Sue Bolton talks about the fight to duplicate the line.

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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“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 inability of the Liberal Party to find candidates for Hunter seats for the March New South Wales state election suggests that even its party faithful recognise that Gladys Berejiklian’s Coalition government is headed for electoral defeat and, probably, a total wipe-out in the Hunter.

The suburbs along this line are some of the fastest growing in Melbourne. Yet, the state Labor government has refused to invest in the infrastructure required to meet the community’s growing needs.

More than 100 people rallied near Regents Park train station on October 20 to demand the Gladys Berejiklian Coalition government restore the Inner West rail line and maintain the T3 Bankstown line, which it plans to replace with a privatised Metro service.

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