Candidate response to No WestCONnex questionnaire

Response from Susan Price, Socialist Alliance Candidate for Summer Hill – 17th November, 2014
Questions for candidates for NSW state elections 2015

WestConnex will have a major impact on the communities of Ashfield, Summer Hill and Marrickville.

As a candidate for the seat of Summer Hill in the NSW state election in 2015, you have been invited to attend a forum for candidates on Wednesday 19 November 2014. In preparation for the forum, it would be appreciated if you could respond to the following questions. At the forum you will have an opportunity to expand on your responses.

The responses to these questions will be made public, in order to assist residents to determine how they may wish to vote in the election. If you don’t answer “yes” or “no” where prompted, it will be assumed that you have answered in the negative.

Q1. Do you support /not support the building of more urban tollways such as WestConnex, and what do you think should be the balance of investment between developing roads and public transport infrastructure?

Answer: I (and Socialist Alliance) do not support the building of more urban tollways. Public transport should receive the overwhelming share of public expenditure, to encourage commuters to get out of their cars and onto a system of public transport that is free, fast and frequent. Socialist Alliance policy is that public transport should be in the public hands. We do not support the privatisation of public transport.

Q2. Do you (and your party) support WestConnex as a transport solution, particularly given the associated impacts on residents of the Summer Hill electorate?

Your position: No
Your party’s position: No

Please comment:

Comment: If West Connex goes ahead people will lose their homes; air pollution in the inner city will increase. West Connex will not solve traffic congestion – it will just relocate it from one part of the road network to another; it will carve up suburbs and result in more, not fewer cars and trucks on our roads.

Q3. If you support the idea of WestConnex, but do not support WestConnex in its present form, what alternatives do you propose, including public transport options?

Answer: Socialist Alliance does not support West Connex – full stop. We believe that a comprehensive public transport system, incorporating heavy and light rail, buses and ferries, that is fast frequent and free and goes where people want to go would take sufficient cars off the road to mean that WestConnex is no longer necessary.

Q4. What are your concerns about the health risks associated with tunnels like WestConnex? How will you advocate for them to be addressed?

Answer: The only way to avoid health issues from road tunnels like WestConnex is not to build them.

Q5. If you are elected, will you (and your party) advocate for the release of the WestConnex business case?

Your position: Yes
Your party’s position: Yes

Q6. If you are elected, will you (and your party) support and advocate for a parliamentary inquiry into WestConnex?

Your position: Yes
Your party’s position: Yes

Q7. If WestConnex was not to proceed, how do you think that the $14.9 billion saved in funding should be spent? (please be specific)

Answer: In Sydney - on a system of public transport that is free, fast and frequent, and massively expanded to link up bus, train, light rail and bike networks across the entire city of Sydney. Eg. Open the rail line to Bondi Beach, so that it can be enjoyed by more people from Sydney’s outer suburbs, without the need of a car.
In Regional NSW – on saving the rail line to Newcastle, and massively expanding regional rail infrastructure for people not coal trucks. On a VFT linking regional centres in NSW. On restoring and expanding regional rail services to western NSW.

Q8. What aspects of Urban Growth NSW’s urban renewal plan for Parramatta Rd do you support/not support?

Answer: I would support the aspect of ‘local area improvement’, but this part of Sydney can have ‘local area improvements’ without WestConnex and without unsustainable development.
I don’t support that WestConnex has to be at the centre of this project. I don’t support the unsustainable development of high-density housing (and retail space), especially if it is driven by speculative investment. Priority should be given to constructing housing to meet the needs of low-income people. Public housing shortages are chronic in NSW. Any new housing development along Parramatta Rd should be medium density, and targeted at public housing needs. It should preserve the ‘village’ and community character of the area. Living close to inner city services is essential for people on low incomes. Any ‘local area improvements’ should preserve and expand green spaces along this busy corridor, to improve air quality, air flows and to provide recreational space.
The emphasis on building more medium and high density housing in the inner city is a result of the failure to provide reliable, fast and frequent public transport to the city centre and the eastern suburbs from Sydney’s outer suburbs.

Q9. Do you (and your party) support building of up to 25 storey apartments along the Parramatta Road corridor as part of urban renewal?

Your position: No
Your party’s position: No

Thank you very much