(Private Members Statement, 6 March 2017, Legislative Assembly, NSW Parliament)
I rise to condemn road changes between Alexandria and Moore Park, planned to deal with new traffic spilling into the streets from the WestConnex Motorway project.
WestConnex is one of the biggest risks to Sydney’s sustainability, liveability and future economic viability.
Congestion already costs our economy $6 billion annually. By 2023 when WestConnex stage three is complete it will deliver an extra 120,000 cars into our city each day with a tenfold increase in particulate emissions.
Its cost has grown from 10 to 17 billion dollars with additional costs for road upgrades in adjacent areas bringing the total to a staggering $50 billion.
There is serious concern that the NSW Government will make financial deals and guarantees with WestConnex buyers that will diminish future government budgets, preventing delivery of infrastructure and services like public transport, education and health.
It is unlikely that we will know what deals were made until after they are done.
People in Western Sydney will be forced into paying thousands of dollars in tolls, increasing every year for 43 years.
The vast majority of people in Western Sydney don’t want to drive into the city! They prefer public transport and the last business case for WestConnex showed that on key corridors, public transport would be quicker.
Responsible governments around the world are investing in public transport over roads because it is more efficient, greener and has fewer impacts. If diverted to public transport projects, the billions invested in WestConnex would give thousands of Sydney residents real fast and affordable transport choices.
The government promised the community that the local roads network would be able to accommodate the additional cars arriving in the inner city from the St Peter’s interchange; it promised that the WestConnex project would benefit the inner city by removing surface traffic. This was never possible.
The $500 million Alexandria to Moore Park Connector is being proposed to manage the hundreds of thousands of extra cars coming off the St Peter’s Interchange. The continuous flow intersection at Anzac parade will have 12 lanes of traffic with pedestrians required to cross five sets of lights, taking 10 minutes to cross.
The Alexandria to Moore Park project will widen parts of South Dowling Street, Dacey Avenue, Anzac Parade and Alison Road. Six-lane clearways – equivalent to the Pacific Highway – are planned and speed limits along the densely populated streets of Euston Road, McEvoy Street and Lachlan Street will increase to 60 kilometres an hour.
Over 100 trees will be destroyed including old growth and significant trees. Moore Park land will be sacrificed and compulsory home acquisitions are probable.
It is no coincidence that this direct highway linking traffic from the WestConnex to Moore Park is being proposed at the same time as plans to knock down and rebuild Allianz Stadium at a cost of $2 billion.
Indeed there appears to be no traffic benefit for the Anzac Parade intersection other than to link cars from the motorway to the stadium.
The current chair of the trust was a previous chair of the WestConnex Sydney Motorway Corporation. Former Premier O’Farrell who committed to the WestConnex the day it was proposed is also on the trust.
This planned rebuild is a disgrace. There is no business case and just over 18 months ago former Premier Baird said the stadium could be refurbished for less than a quarter of the cost.
The new stadium will be built up to the SCG boundary with Moore Park used for spectator spill-over. The trust wants to permanently close Driver Avenue so that it can set up fast food outlets and merchandise stands outside the stadium.
We lost significant Moore Park land for the $38 million Tibby Cotter Bridge, which has no use for pedestrians or cyclists and was secretly planned as a link between Moore Park east – where the trust wanted to build a new stadium – and Moore Park west where the trust wanted its car park.
The light rail is already removing parkland, including for: infrastructure that should be underground; a massive station with paved walkways to the stadiums; and to reroute the service away from Randwick Racecourse land.
Sydney’s apartment populations are rapidly expanding and future residents’ wellbeing depends on access to adequate public green open space, clean air and public transport. But this government is proving to favour private gains over public benefit.
The Alexandria to Moore Park road project is disastrous for the inner city and inner east and is opposed by the City of Sydney, Waverley Council, Randwick Council and Woollahra Municipal Council.
Traffic congestion is a serious problem and building more roads will only make things worse in the long term. We need a cross agency approach to dealing with congestion that involves roads, transport, health, education, local government, bicycle groups and the private sector to find clean, efficient solutions including active and public transport.
I call on the government to withdraw this plan.