F6 extension designed to prop up WestConnex community meeting told

The proposed first stage of the F6 extension was “a smokescreen” designed to solve a WestConnex funding problem and win votes in Sutherland Shire, a community meeting was told.

More than 200 residents packed into Moorefield Bowling and Sports Club on Saturday to show their opposition to the proposed tunnel from WestConnex at Arncliffe to President Avenue, Kogarah.

The meeting passed a resolution demanding an immediate halt to construction and planning for the project, and called for a royal commission “to investigate the colossal failure of transport planning in NSW”.

The resolution also called for public transport alternatives to be included in transport modelling.

A list of questions to be sent to the state government covered a range of concerns including proposed 24-hour work and the impact of the project on local roads and parks and damage to homes from tunnelling.

The meeting was organised jointly by community groups F6Action and Moorefield Estate F6 Commitee.

State Labor MPs Steve Kamper (Rockdale) and Chris Minns (Kogarah) told the meeting the Labor Party was firmly opposed to the move.

“We all talk about the F6, which historically was a road that would take traffic from the south into the city,” Mr Kamper said.

”But, really, this is about the WestConex, not about the F6.

”The government has a problem with the WestConnex.

“The economic returns from WestConnex are not there to support a sale, so what they are trying to do is bolt on some more arteries that will create more traffic and bring more revenue in.”

Mr Kamper said WestConnex funding was “like a ponzi scheme”.

“The cost has blown out and the government can’t sell the half it needs to sell to keep going, so it’s adding a little bit more revenue in there to attract buyers,” he said.

”They’re going to build this road link and leave us with this mess.”

Mr Kamper said the government was worried about retaining seats in Sutherland Shire at the March 2019 election.

“They want to make out they are they are doing something for the communities out there, but this is a smokescreen.”

Chris Minns applauded residents for “turning up in such large numbers and sending a message to the government, to the planners, that this is a dog of a project”.

Mr Minns said the project did “not make sense on economic grounds” and “the logistics just don’t add up”.

”The cars are going to spill out into President avenue and spews traffic right throughout the St George region,” he said.

Mr Minns supported an EcoTransit proposal to divert the Sydney Metro from Sydenham to Miranda.

EcoTransit co-convener Colin Schroeder outlined the proposal to the meeting.

Other speakers included transport planner Dr Michelle Zeibots, MLC Mehreen Faruqi, former investigative journalist Professor Wendy Bacon and Cr Edward McDougall, speaking on behalf of Bayside councillors.

Federal MP for Barton, Linda Burney, attended along with councillors Kathryn Landsberry and Leesha Payor (Georges River Council ) and  Liz Barlow, Ed McDougall, James McDonald and Andrew Tsounis  (Bayside Council).

Apologies were received from federal MP for Cook, Scott Morrison, MLC Shaoquett Moselmane, Bayside mayor Bill Saravinovski and Cr Nick Katris (Georges River Council).

Moorefield Estate F6 Committee leader John Paxos said organisers  were very pleased with the attendance and support.

“Residents had the opportunity to listen to the excellent speakers and to voice their concerns,” he said.

”The community will work together to ensure that the NSW Government listens and acts on the many concerns of the local residents.”

Anne Field, another leader of the group, said she had told government officials at a meeting late last year the four kilometre tunnel would be “nothing more than a parking lot”.

Ms Field said the new Kogarah LEP, which was gazetted in May 2017, would result in huge increases in density, up to 11 storeys, and the traffic would  flow into President Avenue.

Botany Bay and Catchment Alliance chairman Brian Shaw said the meeting “presented a studied solution to congestion in St George, Sutherland Shire and the Illawarra”. 

“The proposed Metro line below Princes Highway and Rocky Point Road is a vast improvements as the wetlands and parklands along Rockdale peninsula will be saved and Shire people will travel much quicker to the City than even today on the overburdened Illawarra line,” he said.

”This solution will remove the blight of massive overdevelopment on the Bankstown line which is causing great stress to property owners and environmentalists."