Last year WEPA lodged an application with the Roads and Maritime Services under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA) seeking information in relation to the business case/s for the Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link projects.
WEPA believes that affected residents are entitled to see the relevant business cases, the analysis of costs and benefits contained therein, know which options have been considered to address identified problems, and why one option (motorways) has been preferred over other options such as improved public transport or congestion pricing.
In response, we were told that the business case was ‘Cabinet information’ within the meaning of GIPA although it was revealed that a Strategic Business Case and a Final Business Case have been prepared. We then appealed to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) against the refusal to provide the information. We were provided with heavily redacted affidavits and submissions prepared by the Crown Solicitors Office which maintained that all the information sought was ‘Cabinet information’ and that we were not entitled to any of it. We were also advised that the NCAT registrar would likewise be denied access – which made it very hard to see how that person could cast a fresh eye over our request.
This week we withdrew our GIPA application for further consideration and have written to the Premier once again seeking the release of the Government’s case for the car tunnels. You can read WEPA’s letter to the Premier on our website. We will be publishing our letter to the Premier and her response on our website and understand that Stop the Tunnels will do the same.