Tag Archives: M4 East tunnel

Labor’s WestConnex – 2002-2011

By Max Phillips, Marrickville Greens Councillor and candidate for Summer Hill.

Labor Party politicians are running around with many different positions on the WestConnex motorway.  Sometimes they support it.  Sometimes they oppose.  Sometimes they oppose it “in its current form”.  Sometimes they just oppose the consequences of the motorway, but not the actual motorway itself.

When Labor were in power, they supported WestConnex – under the names of M4 East, M5 East and the Marrickville Truck Tunnel. WestConnex is not new, it is at least 12 years old. 12 October 2004, Sydney Morning Herald:

A tunnel under Marrickville is the next possible link in Sydney’s road-building program, joining the M4 to Port Botany and eventually creating a tollway from the airport to Strathfield and west to Penrith.

The Marrickville truck tunnel, which would run under Sydenham Road and join Parramatta Road in Lewisham with the Princes Highway at St Peters, may be considered as part of the planning process for the M4 East.A Roads and Traffic Authority options study review into the M4 East says another link is necessary to relieve environmental pressures on Marrickville and provide better connections to Sydney Airport and Port Botany.  […]

Marrickville Council will tonight consider a report recommending the State Government assess the four-kilometre truck tunnel during the preparation of the environmental impact statement for the M4 East.

The Greens have always opposed a new motorway carving up the Inner West.  We believe investment in public transport is a far superior option that will result in a healthier and more liveable city.  The community has also consistently opposed the various motorway plans.

2005 F6 leaflet

In 2009, then Road Minister Michael Daley said: “We would love to build the M4 extension and if we can secure the help of the Federal Government then we will.”  Rather Ironically Michael Daley is now Shadow Roads Minister.

In 2005, the Greens campaigned against the tunnel producing this leaflet to the left. At the 2007 state election the plans were still being developed, but being kept secret by the Labor government.  The Greens were still campaigning against expanded motorways and a tunnel under Marrickville and produced the colour leaflet below.

The map on the back shows you just how similar Labor’s plans were to the current government’s plans.  A tunnel under Ashfield and Haberfield, an interchange somewhere between Lewisham and Annandale, a tunnel that surfaces around Camdenville Park and Campbell Street, St Peters, and finally another motorway to join up with the M5 or an F6 running south through Rockdale.

That’s partly because both the current government and the former Labor government push plans prepared by the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) and Treasury.

The RTA just love roads, and their whole aim is to prioritise motor vehicle traffic.  They have a one-track engineering mind which is not necessarily good for Sydney’s transport problems.

Treasury also love roads because much of the costs are privatised with individuals.  They particularly love private toll roads, because then even less burden is on the Treasury.  Building and operating heavy rail or other forms of public transport place a burden on the Treasury, so they do not favour public transport unless forced to by their political masters.

Labor politicians are extremely skilled at ‘narrow-casting’.  Narrow-casting is saying one thing locally to a specific audience (Inner West voters), while saying or doing another thing more broadly.

A classic example of narrow-casting was local Marrickville Labor’s opposition to the third runway at Sydney Airport, while a federal Labor government built the very same third runway.

In 2010, Tempe residents gathered and rallied against an extended M5.  I marched proudly behind the Marrickville Council banner.  In a very orchestrated manoeuvre, local MP Carmel Tebbutt, then Deputy Premier, announced that the project would be abandoned.  Labor had saved Tempe from … Labor’s plans for a motorway – go figure.

Narrow-casting is what Labor are doing now.  Labor candidate for Newtown, Penny Sharpe is horrified by the implications for King Street Newtown of the M5 East, but her position on WestConnex is unclear.  Labor candidate for Summer Hill Jo Haylen says she is against WestConnex “in its current form”, but for the widening of the M4.  Labor Councillor Chris Woods is trying to stop the widening of Campbell Street, St Peters, despite his party’s support for the WestConnex project (presumably the Labor version of WestConnex would magically not have any polluting exhaust stacks or traffic dumping on/off portals.).

Local federal member for Grayndler, Anthony Albanese takes out the hypocrisy award for complaining about the impacts of a motorway to which he offered $1.8 billion towards its construction when he was infrastructure minister.

I don’t begrudge these convoluted positions, and it is good when politicians respond to community sentiment – but it is a bit disingenuous to pretend to be champions against the WestConnex motorway and its various local impacts, when your party actually supports the very same motorway.

I hope voters have long memories and can see Labor trying to walk both sides of the street on WestConnex.

Old tunnel leaflet-small  Old tunnel leaflet-small2

My position on the WestConnex motorway

A speech delivered by Max Phillips, Greens candidate for Summer Hill at a WestConnex meet the candidates public meeting at St David’s Church Haberfield, 19 November 2014

The Greens have a long proud history of opposing the WestConnex motorway in all its various guises.

It was first referred to as the Marrickville Truck Tunnel in the early 2000’s by former Labor Mayor of Marrickville Barry Cotter. The Greens opposed it then. It re-emerged during the Carr and Iemma years, as the M4 East and the M5 East, and the Greens opposed it then. And the Greens unequivocally oppose the WestConnex motorway now.
Building more roads to relieve traffic congestion is a superficially attractive proposition.

However, experience in Australia and overseas shows that it simply does not work. The more you build new roads or expand existing roads, the more cars you attract. That’s not me just making it up.

An academic study by Duranton and Turner, entitled “The Fundamental Law of Road Congestion: Evidence from US Cities”, found that vehicle kilometres travelled was in lock-step with increased road capacity. They conclude that an increased provision of roads is unlikely to relieve congestion.

I have visited US cities where urban planning has gone off the rails; cities such as Dallas Fort-Worth have been built around the motorway. Motorways absolutely destroy the fabric of a city and tie people closely to their cars. Many smart cities are now dismantling motorways to breath new life into urban areas. It seems crazy for Sydney to build a new motorway through the densely populated Inner West – with the associated health impacts from exhaust stacks, the loss of housing through acquisition, and of course, the extra traffic dumped on local roads.

There are ways to reduce traffic congestion.

We should be investing in public transport. If we put money into public transport to improve frequency, improve accessibility by installing lifts at stations, creating new routes and services, create interconnections between the current hub and spoke routes, then people will get out of their cars and use public transport. The Greens support moving the funds allocated to WestConnex, to public transport.

The other proven way to reduce congestion is to put a price signal on traffic congestion – a congestion charge. In cities such as London, Singapore, Milan and Stockholm, a congestion charge has led to a significant decrease in traffic congestion. In Stockholm, they achieved a 20% drop in traffic congestion after implementing a congestion charge.

A congestion charge can also raise funds to go into public transport and is widely supported by transport academics and economists. It is also supported by social justice organisations such as the NSW Council of Social Services. The Sydney Harbour Bridge already has variable time-of-day charging. While the train system effectively has a congestion charge with higher fares during peak times. Why should people contributing to traffic congestion not pay for the negative externalities they are causing, particularly if it will make the existing road infrastructure run more efficiently and negate the need for more motorways?

While a congestion charge is a controversial idea, I believe that Sydney needs to have a discussion about using congestion charging and investment in public transport, rather than building the WestConnex motorway. To that effect, I have brought a motion to Marrickville Council to support a congestion charge as an alternative to WestConnex.

I am also concerned about the urban development planned in conjunction with the WestConnex motorway. Developers all over Sydney are licking their lips at the prospect of high rise development along Parramatta Road. But I do not think existing infrastructure will cope with such development. Local roads will not cope and cannot be expanded. There is already a shortage of childcare facilities and school places. A new motorway will not solve these problems. Such development will also fundamentally change the character of our existing neighbourhoods.

While Labor might say they are opposed to WestConnex locally or ‘in its current form’, at a broader level they will support the project

On the 4th of November, Shadow Roads Minister Michael Daley was on 2UE radio chastising the government for not going fast enough with delivering WestConnex.

The Greens have been actively supporting the community in opposing the WestConnex motorway. On Marrickville Council the Greens have always strongly opposed the WestConnex motorway, even when other councillors vacillated. In the NSW Parliament we have been trying to pry open the secrecy around the WestConnex project by using the powers of the parliament to obtain documents.

If elected as the Member of Summer Hill, you can be assured that I would continue to be a fierce opponent of WestConnex and pursue smarter solutions to traffic congestion.

Great win for Ashfield Park – now government should protect other parks

Photo: Is Petersham Park safe from the WestConnex motorway?

Marrickville Greens – media release

Greens candidate for Summer Hill, Max Phillips said today the announcement that Ashfield Park would not be used as a portal for the WestConnex motorway was a great win for local people power and common sense.  He called on the NSW Government to make a commitment to protect other parks in the Inner West from the motorway.

“It is fantastic news that Ashfield Park will be protected and it is a great win for people power and common sense,” said Councillor Max Phillips.

“The Greens call on the state government to grant other parks in the path of the WestConnex motorway the same protection as Ashfield Park.  In particular, the government should commit to protecting Petersham Park, Camperdown Park, Camdenville Park, and Tempe Reserve and Wetlands.

“The Inner West has the lowest rates of open space in Australia, so what we do have is precious and should be protected.

“The Greens oppose the WestConnex motorway and believe transport funding should go towards public transport options to relieve traffic congestion in the long term.”

Contact: Max Phillips 0419 444 916

Govt & RTA refuses to release M4 documents

In a democracy, usually the parliament is the highest decision making body. car_tunnel

In NSW, the Roads and Traffic Authority seem to outrank parliament.

Greens MLC Lee Rhiannon successfully moved a ‘call for papers’ on the proposed M4 East and Marrickville tunnel, but the RTA is refusing to release most of the documents.  The Sydney Morning Herald has a story in today’s paper.

See Lee Rhiannon’s press release on this issue.

See our M4 Tunnel campaign page.

RTA keeps M4 East extension reports under wraps

Media Release  9 October 2009

Greens MP Lee Rhiannon today slammed the Minister for Roads and the RTA for refusing to release key reports relating to the contentious M4 East Extension project, despite the NSW Upper House voting for their release and some already been leaked to the media (RTA refuses to release M4 papers, Sydney Morning Herald today).

Two weeks ago Ms Rhiannon won Upper House MPs’ support for the release of key reports, including a discussion paper on the motorway prepared by the government for community consultation and a report by UK transport consultant Jim Steer which slammed the project.

“Premier Rees claims the days of the secret state are over, but this shows it’s thriving,” said the Greens Roads Spokesperson.

“The government has stamped all documents as cabinet-in-confidence even though some have already been leaked to the media.

“Keeping these documents under wraps means Inner West residents are denied critical information about where the motorway and its polluting stacks will go.

“This is a project with legs. The Rees government says it would love to build it and the federal government is contributing $300 million for planning and preconstruction work.

“Before we know it contracts will be signed and Sydney will have a new motorway built by stealth, with no community consultation.

“The government should be investing in world class public transport, not building new billion dollar motorways that lock us in to a car-dependent future,” Ms Rhiannon said.

For more information: 9230 3551, 0427 861 568

Greens force release of secret reports on M4 East extension

Greens MP and transport spokesperson Lee Rhiannon  won support last week in the NSW Upper House for the release of secret reports and documents on the M4 East extension. The reports must now be available to the public within fourteen days.car-tunnel

“The government has kept the detail of the M4 East extension under wraps for years,” Ms Rhiannon said. “The release of these secret reports will help the community scrutinise these massive motorway plans which will have such an enormous impact on Sydney, particularly the inner west.”

“The Federal government has committed $300 million to kick start this project, yet the RTA refuses to publicly discuss where the motorway will go and where its filtration stacks will be located. These reports and documents should always have been in public view. “It is indicative of the secret culture of this government that the Greens and community groups have had to fight so hard to see them,” Ms Rhiannon said.

What papers will be released:

• The paper produced by consultant Mr Jim Steer on the M4 East extension and any correspondence, including letters, faxes and emails, that relate to the preparation and finalisation of this paper,

• The discussion paper on the extension to the M4 East motorway prepared for public consultation by the Office of the Coordinator-General in the Department of Premier and Cabinet and any correspondence, including letters, faxes and emails, that relate to the preparation and finalisation of this discussion paper,

• The Capital Expenditure documentation relating to the M4 East extension which discusses the ‘Victoria Road Extension.

When these documents are released, we will post them on this site.

More information :  Lee Rhiannon MLC NSW Parliament  9230 3551 – www.leerhiannon.org.au

Relief for Inner West residents as M4 Tunnel fails to get funding

The extension of the M4, including a tunnel under the Marrickville area has failed to receive funding in the 2009/10 federal budget.

This is good news for residents of the Inner West.  It means that polluting exhaust stacks and increased traffic congestion has been avoided in the immediate future.

The state governmentand RTA should permanetly throw the idea of of extending the M4 into the garbage bin and concentrate on improving Sydney’s ailing public transport and rail freight system to get people out of cars and onto buses, trams and trains.

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