Community Discussions with Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) – TfNSW in Breach of Section 10.6 of the EP&A Act
The community may recall the time-savings claimed by TfNSW in the EIS and in the brochures and updates in our letterboxes. We all knew that the 38 minutes time-savings for driving (for example) from Balgowlah to the City during the am peak was an exaggeration because before the pandemic it took (on average) less than 38 minutes to drive from Balgowlah to the City.
We formally asked TfNSW to provide the basis for the time-saving and if it had taken into account the likely fall in traffic volumes after the pandemic because of the impact of work-from-home. TfNSW refused to provide any justification for the time-saving claim and the assumption that the traffic volumes are likely to return to the old trajectory once the pandemic had “settled down”.
We lodged a complaint with the DPIE that TfNSW had breached Section 10.6 (1) of the EP&A Act which states – a person must not provide information in connection with a planning matter that the person knows, or ought reasonably to know, is false or misleading.
The DPIE refused to take up our complaint – the attached document contains the exchange of emails we have had with the DPIE. We remain deeply cynical of the review process being undertaken by the DPIE – it is rushing its box-ticking exercise to approve the Beaches Link Tunnel project as described in the EIS and dismissing the many legitimate concerns of the community to approve the project as early as this month so Andrew Constance can get cabinet approval to sign contracts with contractors before the State election in March 2023.
Call to Action: We are asking that residents write to Rob Stokes MP, the minister in charge of the DPIE to pressure him to get his department to stop rushing through an approval for the Beaches Link Tunnel project and to take seriously the objections and concerns of the community.
Stokes’ contact details are:
Phone: (02) 9999 3599
Click here to read recent email exchanges between community members and the department: Email-exchange-with-DPIE-re-Misleading-Statements-by-TfNSW-in-the-EIS.pdf
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.
We also have a step-by-step guide for how to submit a submission to the NSW Parliamentary website.
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:
You can also email us on firstname.lastname@example.org and ask us any questions.
Submissions close on Friday June 18th – so let’s swamp their website with submissions!
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)
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.