Tag Archives: M5

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

M5 Expansion: Keneally should use launch of transport plan to cancel M5 expansion

Greens MP Lee Rhiannon – 19 February 2010 – Media Alert/Release

With the expected release of the government’s transport plan this weekend and a Saturday rally of residents at Tempe opposing the M5 Expansion, Greens MP and roads spokesperson Lee Rhiannon is calling on Premier Keneally to cancel the RTA’s $4.5 billion M5 duplication project and redirect funding to public transport and rail freight infrastructure (‘Elevated motorway meets with protests, p 2, SMH, http://tiny.cc/Dl8Pg)

Greens MP Lee Rhiannon will join residents at the Tempe protest on Saturday 20 February. Residents in ‘No Way RTA t-shirts’ will meet at 10.45am at Victory Park, South Street Tempe and walk to the RTA Information Day.

“Premier Keneally must use the launch of her new transport plan to drop the M5 expansion, in particular the Southern Sydney Connection which will go through Tempe destroying parklands and dumping approximately 15,000 vehicles a day at Euston Road, Alexandria.

“Ms Keneally should instead turn her attention to public transport, rail freight and active transport solutions which are the key to Sydney’s traffic and transport woes,” Ms Rhiannon said.

“The billion dollar RTA expansion of the M5 is the wrong direction in an era of climate change and peak oil.

“Increased spending on public transport and rail freight infrastructure is the key to dealing with a congested M5 tunnel and increased traffic from an expanded Port Botany and the airport.

“Inner West suburbs will be the traffic sewer for the RTA’s misguided motorway plans.

“The M5 Expansion project is strongly opposed by residents in Tempe, Alexandria, St Peters and South Newtown.

“Premier Keneally needs to listen to the community, including affected local councils, and can the project now.

“Dumping this misguided project at an early stage will save taxpayers millions of dollars in consultants fees, assessment plans and tendering processes,” Ms Rhiannon said.

For more information:
9230 3551, 0427 861 568

Albanese should block funding for M5 expansion


6 February 2010

Expressing support for Tempe residents’ rally this Saturday against the M5 corridor expansion, Greens MP and road spokesperson Lee Rhiannon has called on the Federal Minister for Transport Anthony Albanese to say ‘no’ to Infrastructure Australia funding the $4 billion road project being proposed by the NSW government.

Ms Rhiannon says she will work with the community and local Greens councillors to build on the ‘no M5 expansion’ campaign when NSW Parliament resumes in mid February.

The ‘Rally Against the Road’ is at 11am, Sat 6 February, Tempe Lands, South St.

“This monster road project will destroy residential communities, increase greenhouse emissions and air pollution, induce more traffic and rob funds from public transport solutions. It will also make the controversial M4 East inevitable,” Ms Rhiannon said.

“If Mr Albanese gives the nod to funding the project he will severely erode the climate change credentials the Rudd government is attempting to build.

“Labor at both Federal and State levels has created an enormous traffic problem by expanding Port Botany and Sydney Airport. They are now struggling with the wash up.

“The M5 expansion is a bankrupt, non-solution which fails to consider better alternatives to congestion like public transport, freight on rail and active transport.

“The NSW government has failed to learn from history and is again condemning Sydney to another motorway disaster, like the Cross City Tunnel, the Lane Cove Tunnel and the current M5 motorway.

Lee Rhiannon

“Premier Kristina Keneally has tarred herself with the same old Labor government brush by backing this ill-conceived project before releasing the long overdue Transport Blueprint.

“The M5 feasibility study again shows the government prefers to listen to the RTA and big business rather than local communities and public transport planners.

“The proposed Southern Sydney Connection, a four lane surface road, will crash through the $17 million remediated Tempe Lands, the site of Saturday’s rally, and spew traffic into local streets in St Peters and Alexandria.

“The Inner West community will not thank Labor at the polls for this mega-road project.

“Both Federal and State Labor would be wise to dump the proposal, or see damage at the ballot box,” Ms Rhiannon said.

For more information – 0427 81 568

NO WAY RTA M5 rally a success despite rain

Tempe residents rally against the M5 expansion

Greens Councillor Olive (centre) joins Tempe residents to oppose the expansion of the M5

Many Tempe and other Marrickville residents came out with their umbrellas, raincoats and gum boots to show their opposition to the proposed extension of the M5 motorway through Tempe Reserve to Campbell Road.

Marrickville Council will discuss and vote on its submission to the M5 expansion consultation process this Tuesday, starting from 6.30pm.  Council meetings are held on level 3 or the Council Administration Building,  2 Fisher Street Petersham.

The RTA wants to spend $4 billion widening the M5, building additional tunnels, and a ‘Southern Sydney Extension’ that would dump up to 1,800 vehicles an hour on Campbell Road.  This plan only makes sense when combined with the RTA and state government’s long standing plans to extend the M4 East and connect the M5 via a tunnel under the Marrickville local government area.  There have also been long standing plans to build an F6 south from Tempe to Sutherland.

A video of the event is now on YouTube and photos are on this flickr page.

Video courtesy of  Tempe 2020, a community group set up to provide a positive vision for Tempe.