Published in City Hub, 5 October 2016
By Jordan Fermanis
On Saturday October 1, protestors and partygoers descended upon Sydney Park in what was billed as a ‘protestival’. The protestival was organised by the WestCONnex Action Group and Reclaim the Streets.
The protestival came together with only a weeks notice. It commenced at 1pm, where music acts kept crowds entertained until 6pm.
The event was held not far from where WestConnex protestors have set up a tent blockade which has been running for almost three weeks.
Sydney’s Lord Mayor Clover Moore has offered her support to members of the tent blockade who have vowed to stay to protect the removal of trees to make way for the road.
The protestival was a joint effort in solidarity to those protesting as well as a protest against Premier Baird’s controversial lockout laws.
Longtime advocate against WestConnex and Member for Newtown, Jenny Leong addressed the crowd at the start of the day’s events, unveiling the Green’s ‘solidarity wall’ which attendees signed for the members of the tent blockade.Read more
Community members and local anti-Westconnex campaigners were joined by Lord Mayor Clover Moore and Greens MP for Newtown, Jenny Leong, on Monday morning Sept 19 and stopped the first bulldozer destroying parts of Sydney Park. A protest campsite was established which was later raided at 3am by the Redfern police and WestConnex who pulled out the protestors who had been previously assured that they would not be moved during the night.
However, the camp remains and is growing as more people join the campaign to Stop WestConnex bulldozers here. Join them and sign up at the protest camp on Euston Road, Alexandria adjacent to Sydney Park.
WestConnex planned to undertake utility and geotechnical investigations as a prelude to widening Euston Road in Alexandria. This work would mean that a stand of large eucalypts and other native species would be uprooted as part of this work as well as displacing the local fauna including 2 wonderful Tawney Frogmouth owls which are nesting in trees above the campsite.
WestConnex plans to take large swathes of parkland from Sydney Park and surrounds in forthcoming months.
JOIN THE FIGHT TO SAVE SYDNEY PARK AND ALL THE COMMUNITIES AFFECTED BY WESTCONNEX
SIGN ONTO THE ROSTER TO JOIN THE PROTEST CAMP BY DROPPING DOWN TO THE CAMPSITE ON EUSTON ROAD, ALEXANDRIA or calling our office on (02) 9517 2800 or emailing email@example.com for more information.
SMS WESTCON 0490 257225 TO RECEIVE ACTION ALERTS
MEDIA RELEASE: Show us the Offset! Greens MP Calls on NSW Government to Release Details of WestConnex Offset for New M5 Destruction
(Protesters at Beverly Hills site of the critically endangered Cooks River Castlereagh Ironbark Forest Sept 5, 2016)
Greens NSW MP and Environment spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi has called on the NSW Government to release details of the offset, accusing the Government of attempting to clear the land before securing an offset. Despite clearing of the land to be imminent, the NSW Environment Minister stated on Friday that “Roads and Maritime Services [RMS] intends to offset that clearing with ironbark forest located in the Sydney region”.
1.5ha of the critically endangered Cooks River Castlereagh Ironbark Forest will be cleared as part of the New M5 portion of WestConnex at Beverly Grove using a ‘biobanking’ system that allows the destruction to be offset at another location.Read more
The Greens say recent revelations from a whistleblower regarding asbestos contamination in WestConnex road fill add to the alarming list of asbestos concerns about this project which have been made to the NSW Premier Mike Baird and Roads Minister Duncan Gay.
“The number of serious concerns raised over the past 12 months regarding asbestos handling and safety precautions on the WestConnex project should have raised red flags for Duncan Gay,” said the Australian Greens spokesperson for transport and infrastructure Senator Janet Rice.
“However, Minister Gay has continuously disparaged or rebuffed claims from residents and from Jenny Leong, NSW Greens spokesperson on WestConnex, that WestConnex has been acting outside proper health and safety protocols.Read more
The Sydney Morning Herald's assumptions about the WestConnex ReachTEL poll shows that the way you interpret data makes a huge difference to the conclusions that are drawn.
Our reading of the ReachTEL / Fairfax poll shows that less than 50% of those polled think WestConnex will be good for Sydney and that nearly 53% either don’t know, or think that this tollroad will be bad for Sydney.
The figures show that there’s a huge lack of information about WestConnex - 40% of those polled don’t know if the largest spend on transport infrastructure in Australia - $16.8billion, will be good for Sydney.Read more
Greens NSW MP and Environment spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi has said that news that critically endangered bushland at Beverly Grove will be bulldozed on Wednesday to make way for a worksite for WestConnex was extremely concerning.
1.5ha of the critically endangered Cooks River Castlereagh Ironbark Forest will be cleared, using a ‘bio-banking’ system that allows the destruction to be offset at another location.
Dr Faruqi said:
“News that a last remaining patch critically endangered the Cooks River Castlereagh Ironbark Forest will be destroyed for WestConnex has demonstrated the Baird Government’s utter disregard for environmental law and due process.
“After 1.5ha bushland is cleared, the remaining vegetation will be too limited for the area to be a viable ecological community.Read more
Given the recent revelations concerning the Government's responses to the Russell Review of the compulsory acquisition process, it now is clear that the Premier failed to act on two key reports which were highly critical of the government’s compulsory acquisition process and functioning of the Valuer General's office.
The first dates back to May 2013 when the Report of the Joint Standing Committee on the Office of the Valuer General, chaired by Liberal MP Matt Kean was released. This committee made 29 recommendations which included a number criticizing the fairness and openness of the land acquisition process and the functions of the Valuer General’s office, but the government did nothing to make the process fairer.
Mike Baird was Treasurer at this time when the Liberals embarked on hundreds of acquisitions for infrastructure projects including Westconnex, NorthConnex, Sydney Metro and the Sydney light rail, knowing the process regarding property valuations by the Valuer General was not transparent and was unfair in a number of ways.
Then in February 2014, the government received the Review from David Russell, SC, which was commissioned in 2012 and included guiding principles on how compulsory acquisitions should be dealt with by government.
Premier Baird admitted today in Question Time that the WestConnex acquisition process has not been ‘anywhere near as good as it should have been’.
The Premier highlighted that he has appointed Michael Pratt, the Customer Service Commissioner in the Department of Premier and Cabinet, to oversee a new process that will ensure that those affected by the Stage 3 acquisitions will get a more generous and caring ‘world’s best practice’ process.Read more
The government-appointed Administrator of the Inner West Council, Richard Pearson, admitted at the July 26 Council meeting that his approaches to the Sydney Motorway Corporation (SMC) have been met with complete intransigence, with the SMC effectively stonewalling Council.
“The SMC has shown clearly that they are not prepared to negotiate in any way on even the most basic issues of resident’s safety. The Administrator stated publicly last night that he was extremely disappointed with their responses, and that in fact so far he’s got ‘nought out of ten’ on Council requests. This is appalling but not surprising,” said Greens MP for Balmain, Jamie Parker.
“Baird’s own hand-picked Administrator is being bulldozed - just like the residents of the Inner West - by this private company, set up by the Liberal Coalition government to ram through the tollroad at any cost and to operate outside the normal planning requirements of local and State government.”Read more
MEDIA RELEASE: WestConnex Rozelle Tunnel Plan shifts the road chaos and more homes and businesses acquired
Last weekend's confirmation of extra compulsory acquisitions on Lilyfield Road adds to the 27 already announced on Victoria Road to facilitate an additional one kilometre of tunnel that will move the traffic chaos up to the Iron Cove Bridge.
"This new tunnel under Victoria Road, Rozelle shows how planning for WestConnex is a shambles, says Greens Member for Balmain, Jamie Parker.
“We see more homes and business being forcibly taken and lives destroyed for this Liberal party road building frenzy and we all will pay the price.
“The add on tunnel announcement and underground Rozelle Interchange is nothing more than a half-baked response to the traffic chaos that will occur around the ANZAC bridge,” he said.