After ongoing calls for an audit of WestConnnex by the public and The Greens, The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) is reviewing the circumstances surrounding the federal funding and concessional loan to WestConnex.
The submission by Senators Janet Rice, Lee Rhiannon and Jenny Leong is here.
The objective of this audit is to assess whether appropriate steps were taken to protect the Commonwealth's interests and obtain value for money in respect to the $3.5 billion in Commonwealth funding committed to the NSW Government for the WestConnex project.
The Greens believe that the decision to commit public funds to the WestConnex project was premature and motivated by political gain and that the federal government's allocation of public funds to WestConnex was made without any real impartial or independent assessment according to the proper processes and good governance protocols that were in place.Read more
The NSW Government’s compulsory acquisition process for WestConnex is a disaster for home owners throughout Sydney's Inner West.
Many in St Peters, Alexandria, Haberfield and Ashfield are now compelled to take their cases to the Land and Environment Court in last ditch efforts to obtain fair compensation for the loss of their homes and the expenses of relocation. Others throughout Glebe and Rozelle are bracing for the impending notifications from the RMS that they will lose their homes.
The recent SMH report on this unfair process highlighted the situation facing homeowners and despite Premier Baird admitting in June and on Sydney radio 2UE today, that he has some reservations about the way the RMS is handling WestConnex compulsory home acquisitions, he has failed to act to make the process more equitable.
Homeowners are reporting coercive, bullying tactics from the RMS and are being forced into the courts if they won’t accept below market rates for their homes and inadequate compensation.
Some good news for our community from the Inner West Council regarding WestConnex.
The following item on WestConnex was passed at the 2nd meeting of the Inner West Council which was held on Tuesday July 5 at 7pm at the Ashfield Service Centre, 260 Liverpool Road, Ashfield.
The Administrator’s Minute (see full text below), states that the Inner West Council will formally adopt a position of continued opposition in the ‘strongest terms’ to the WestConnex project, which is in line with the position of the previous three councils, Marrickville, Ashfield and Leichhardt which have been amalgamated.
The IWC has sought urgent legal advice concerning advice on prospects for a legal challenge to the WestConnex project across the whole LGA, including an injunction on the current demolition works in Haberfield and Ashfield. It will also provide funding for a full-time community organiser to campaign against the WestConnex project and act as a go-between for community concerns.Read more
Anti WestConnex nonviolent direct action continues as homes fall in Haberfield and exploratory drilling continues in St. Peters and Rozelle and Lilyfield.
Local community members are continuing to take nonviolent direct action in Haberfield and Ashfield against the M4 East WestConnex home demolitions. They are being arrested and are facing court proceedings as the bulldozers on many different demolition sites irrevocably destroy homes, communities and green space.
In the latest action on June 21, four local women from the newly formed group, Women Against WestConnex, were arrested in the grounds of a property in Chandos Street, Ashfield. The action was reported in detail here by Wendy Bacon and the women made a statement about why they took this action prior to being arrested.
The last month has seen an escalation of community opposition to WestConnex with public meetings, community rallies and non violent direct actions spreading across the Inner West and beyond.
Premier Baird was reminded of community opposition to WestConnex at the Sydney Town Hall rally on May 29 when thousands gathered to protest against a range of issues and heard Westconnex Action Group spokesperson, Pauline Lockie speak about the manifold problems with Westconnex.
Local community meetings in Glebe on June 20 and earlier in Balmain on May 19, were packed out and brought together many hundreds of residents from Balmain, Lilyfield, Annandale and Glebe who are increasingly concerned about the impact of the M4-M5 WestConnex link and the proposed Rozelle Interchange.
Greens MP for Balmain, Jamie Parker was MC at the Glebe Town Hall meeting with speakers, Lord Mayor Clover Moore, Wendy Bacon, Dr. Victor Storm, Matt Hounsell from Eco Transit and geologist, Anton Crouch.
Greens call for halt to all WestConnex work and funding pending federal audit
With the announcement by the Australian National Audit Office of their intention to audit WestConnex, NSW Greens WestConnex spokesperson Jenny Leong MP has called for an immediate halt to all work and funding of this controversial project.
"The Greens have consistently said that we need a halt to all construction and federal funding until an independent investigation has been conducted and this is now crucial as homes are being demolished and homes destroyed", said Greens MP Jenny Leong.
“This is a great win for the community who have been calling for transparency and independent oversight of this project ever since the NSW Auditor General investigated this project and raised serious concerns in December 2014.Read more
On Monday May 16, City of Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore issued the following Mayoral Minute which called the whole WestConnex project into question and revealed the Mayor's letter to Prime Minister Turnbull asking for an urgent independent assessment of the project stating that,
"An independent assessment would reveal what we all know to be true - that WestConnex simply does not make sense and is the result of Tony Abbott’s pro-road ideology. This is most clearly demonstrated by the fact that WestConnex has
never been adequately assessed against public transport and demand management alternatives to meeting Sydney’s future growth and transport needs."
This letter was also sent to the New South Wales government, state and federal opposition and the Greater Sydney Commission.Read more
Investigative journalist, Wendy Bacon describes the recent WestConnex demolitions in Haberfield.
Despite two Stop WestConnex occupations, a vigil, daily picketing and the strong opposition of Ashfield Council, demolition began last week and by Tuesday, three houses and some businesses had been turned into large piles of rubble and contaminated waste.
Demolition work stopped on the site of a massive WestConnex construction site in Haberfield heritage conservation area in Sydney’s inner west after residents complained about dust from asbestos and other waste produced in very windy conditions.
Scores of homes and businesses are slated for destruction in Haberfield, not because they are needed inside the tollway footprint, but because they are needed for the construction site.Read more
Greens NSW spokesperson for WestConnex and Member for Newtown Jenny Leong, spoke in Parliament on May 10, 2016 on the evidence presented at the recent Peoples WestConnex Inquiry, which highlighted the lack of transparency, good governance and community consultation surrounding the $16.8 billion WestConnex toll road.
You can read a transcript of this speech hereRead more
Member for Newtown and NSW Greens spokesperson on WestConnex Jenny Leong MP speaks on the Government Information (Public Access) Amendment (Sydney Motorway Corporation) Bill 2016.
This bill is designed to ensure that the information held by the Sydney Motorway Corporation - the entity created to administer the WestConnex project - is subject to freedom of information requests.