Westconnex is a series of motorway upgrades in Sydney.
- We do not blanket oppose motorway construction: roads are necessary for non-mass transit applications, and used correctly can be efficient for many tasks.
- We are in favour of funding more public transport.
- We believe that the government should have the option to purchase land for important infrastructure project, even if it means forcing people to sell against their will. People should be duly compensated to allow them to purchase similar quality of housing in a similar area.
- Taking peak hour traffic off the roads on Parramatta Rd and King St will likely improve quality of life of people in those areas, increase the quality of business in the area and improve the speed of public transport (in particular, buses) in the area.
- Secrecy surrounding this project is likely adding to the fears of residents in potentially affected areas unnecessarily. We believe in open government and would run the project in an open way.
- The staging of the project is a problem. Westconnex is building the first two stages of the motorway (see http://www.westconnex.com.au/) without the central piece. The central piece is pretty much what is needed right now, yet they are widening the pipes just to increase the squeeze even more on streets like King St and Parramatta Rd. To fix this problem, they will make King St a clearway for longer during the day, which severely impacts business and pedestrian enjoyment/safety.
- We would make proper links to the Eastern Distributor and Western Distributor first. These are the important missing links. Instead, this most important link in the puzzle will be delivered at the end of the project in 2023, four years after Westconnex increases the volume of the M4 and M5 "carparks" in 2019.
NSW Council Amalgamations
The Science Party encourages every citizen to be involved in democracy by engaging with government at all levels.
We do not oppose forced amalgamation of local council areas or any other redrawing of boundaries on principle, nor do we think all residents affected should need to vote "yes" to proceed with a council amalgamation.
The total number of councils, and council boundaries, are liable to be reviewed by the Local Government Boundaries Commission. Elected representatives should be able to make the decision to amalgamate. What is important is maintaining democracy, and that can be ensured by:
- an open consultation process that ensures councils are truly being amalgamated for the purpose of better provision of services; and
- re-election of local councillors shortly following amalgamation (a period of three months is recommended).
The recent formation of the Inner West Council might or might not satisfy the first condition and certainly does not satisfy the second. By delaying Inner West Council elections until 16 months after the amalgamation, the NSW government has only itself to blame for the public's lack of faith in the amalgamation process.
Also, cultural fit is an important factor when deciding new council boundaries, as councils organise many important community events. Thus, while the size of councils is a government decision, residents' feedback should be considered strongly when deciding where to re-draw boundaries. For example, in the case of the proposed Botany Bay-Rockdale merger, residents and councillors alike prefer a Botany-Randwick merger and a St George merger between Rockdale and Hurstville-Kogorah. While it would not be technically undemocratic to force a Botany-Rockdale merger, it would be heavy-handed and, frankly, suspect unless the state government can produce an excellent justification for the decision.