News

June 2021

Have your say – make a submission to Parliamentary Inquiry on Beaches Link and Western Harbour Tunnels – Closes 18th June

 

Some of us may be aware that the Beaches Link Tunnel has been included in an upcoming government inquiry, designed to investigate the planning process and business case behind the tunnel. As part of this process they are accepting submissions from the public, and this is an excellent opportunity for everyone in the community to have their say.

 

Unlike the recent EIS process with the tunnel, the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry will be heard by a committee made up of all political parties and independents – not just the current government. The idea is that the process is not political and can investigate the full details about the projects without government spin and marketing.

 

The NSW Parliamentary Inquiry will investigate the planning of the Western Harbour and Beaches Link Tunnels. It was implemented as a result of feedback from the community about the projects, including a petition of over 10,000 handwritten signatures.

Communities asked the government to place a moratorium on the projects development process until they could show the community a transparent process, consideration of other options for transport, and the business case / cost-benefit analysis for the projects.

 

This inquiry is important for a few reasons:

– It has an important voice of authority to the decision-makers in government (but cannot compel decisions)

– It involves members of the government from regional areas that so often suffer inequity in public spending

– The media will cover the inquiry extensively, so our experiences and point-of-view will get coverage that we have been unable to achieve before

 

We have written a guide to help the community through the steps needed to enter their submission. There are a few steps involved, and we want to help everyone as much as possible.

We have a written a guide on what to include in your submission, with some tips and tricks on how to make it the most effective.

NSW-Parliamentary-Inquiry-Guide-to-making-a-submission

We also have a step-by-step guide for how to submit a submission to the NSW Parliamentary website.

NSW-Parliamentary-Inquiry-Step-by-Step-Website-Guide

The link to the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry website for submissions is here: https://tinyurl.com/2021EnquiryWHTBL

 

We are open to holding an info session about making a submission this week, for people who would like extra help. If this is you, please register your interest and leave your details on this link:

https://survey.websurveycreator.com/s/BL_June2021

You can also email us on beachestunnel@gmail.com and ask us any questions.

 

Submissions close on Friday June 18th – so let’s swamp their website with submissions!

April 2021

EIS for the Beaches Link Tunnel – What Happens Now?

Government is moving full speed ahead to approve the tunnel, but a parliamentary enquiry has been launched into the business case – that we can participate in.

 

Following the almost 1,500 submissions from the public and various organisations/agencies, the decision to accept, reject or modify the tunnel design of TfNSW is made by Rob Stokes Department of Planning (DPIE).

While Transport Minister Andrew Constance wants a favourable decision ASAP, residents want the DPIE to evaluate the EIS and the many submissions without interference from TfNSW.

A group of concerned residents recently met with the DPIE to express our concerns that its evaluation will be seen by the community as just another box-ticking exercise. We had no confidence the evaluation would be truly independent and free from interference by TfNSW.

A copy of the exchange of emails that secured this meeting and our report on what was discussed is here: Download PDF file – Meeting with DPIE (April 2021)

We concluded:

  • The NSW government expects the DPIE will approve a design for the Beaches Link Tunnel. The government does not see the Beaches Link Tunnel in isolation from the WestConnex and Western Harbour Tunnel projects. Because of the complex relationship between the government and Transurban (an investor in most of Sydney’s toll-road and tunnel projects), we believe that the government is “obliged” to deliver the Beaches Link Tunnel,
  • The DPIE will seek to negotiate with TfNSW to approve a design – with conditions that the DPIE believes will minimise environmental damage, minimise cancers from stack emissions and hopefully limit inconvenience for residents close to construction sites,
  • The DPIE will not intentionally approve a design that does not comply with all the provisions in the EP&A Act (and other statutory acts), but the DPIE plays no role in policing the construction of the project but leaves the monitoring and complaints from residents to other agencies,
  • We understand conditions to eliminate or minimise environmental damage imposed as a condition of consent/determination can be appealed by the contractor without a formal public consultation process – and it is the minister who reviews the appeal. The appeal is usually granted,
  • The community needs both to be vigilant of the DPIE’s process of approval – and be prepared to take legal action to ensure that the environment and our rights are protected. We shall seek your help in establishing a legal fighting fund to stop the DPIE from rushing their decision or not complying will all the provisions of the EP&A Act.

 

Your comments on our meeting with DPIE and how we now take matters further are important to us. Please get in touch with your views. You will see that the DPIE is happy to meet with us on a regular basis during while it is assessing the EIS and the submissions to the EIS.

We shall be meeting with representatives of community/resident groups from Artarmon and Cammeray to work together in developing a strategy to ensure that the DPIE works thoroughly and independently through the submissions to the EIS.

We shall also cooperate in preparing for submissions from our community/resident groups to the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Western Harbour and Beaches Link Tunnels that was announced late last month (see https://tinyurl.com/2021EnquiryWHTBL).

We have considered holding public meetings ahead of the Parliamentary Inquiry submission deadline in June. Please let us know if this would be helpful by sending us an email from the “Contact Us” menu.