WEPA recently put a motion to the Annual General Meeting of the Nature Conservation Council of NSW (NCC) raising our concerns over the Western Harbour and Beaches Link Tunnel proposals. As a result, the combined Council agreed to send the following letter to the State and Federal Governments.
25 January 2023
Hon Dominic Perrottet
6 Macquarie Street
SYDNEY NSW 2000
In reply please quote: AC2022/D5
Dear Mr Perrottet,
Re Western Harbour Tunnel and Northern Beaches Link project
The Nature Conservation Council of NSW is the state’s peak environment organisation. We represent over 170 environment groups across NSW. Together we are dedicated to protecting and conserving the wildlife, landscapes, and natural resources of NSW.
At the Annual Conference of the Nature Conservation Council of NSW (NCC) held on Saturday 5 November 2022, the following motion was passed without dissent:
Motion 2022/D5 – Western Harbour Tunnel and Northern Beaches Link project
Submitted by Willoughby Environmental Protection Association (WEPA)
THAT the Nature Conservation Council of NSW
- calls on the NSW State Government to immediately halt, review and reassess the Western Harbour Tunnel and Northern Beaches Link projects.
- write to the Premier, Treasurer, Minister for Roads, Minister for the Environment, the Opposition Leader, the Shadow Treasurer and Shadow Ministers for the Environment and Roads seeking an urgent halt, review and reassessment of the tunnels’ projects in terms of need and priority.
- write to the Prime Minister, Federal Treasurer and Federal Minister for the Environment seeking that no federal funds be provided to the tunnel projects without a risk assessment and an assessment of priority and need for the project being undertaken.
On 21 June 2022, the State Government handed down the 2022/2023 Budget and allocated $4.1billion over 4 years for planning the Western Harbour Tunnel (with connections from Cammeray to Rozelle) (WHT) and the Northern Beaches Link (NBL). The environment in the North Sydney and Willoughby local government areas will bear the enormous burden of these projects and there are no demonstrable benefits. The unacceptable risks of these projects include:
Climate: Almost 1 million kms of additional road trips per day induced by the project (EIS estimates) with no dedicated public transport lane and no ability to adapt to rail later.3,500 trees, mangroves and seagrasses will be lost with their carbon exchange and cooling effect gone for a generation. Road tunnels are far larger than public transport tunnels and these tunnels have a particularly long span -the embodied emissions profile is unacceptable.
Environment: contamination of harbour and waterways by excavating toxic sediment resulting in polluted water impacting marine wildlife, swimming and water sport activities. Venting will release unfiltered toxic air into the surrounding communities. Waste will be dumped at sea risking toxic sludge to be dealt with at unknown locations, further affecting water, air and land. The project will lead to devastation of bushland – in particular Flat Rock Gully Reserve, which sits on top of a contaminated historical tip in a major water catchment area – public parks, and endangered species and 20 significant Aboriginal sites will be put at further risk from dredging, vibration, and drawdown.
Public transport: no alternative public transport or sustainable options considered or cost by government.
Fiscal accountability and the business case: The business case for the Beaches Link has never been published and the Western Harbour Tunnel Business Case is outdated and based on pre-Covid figures. The corridor is highly susceptible to changes in work and travel patterns and with a benefit-cost-ratio of only 1.2 the project needs to be stopped and re-assessed.
We call on the NSW State Government to immediately halt, review and reassess the Western Harbour Tunnel and Northern Beaches Link projects.
We call on the Federal Government to ensure that no federal funds be provided to the tunnel projects without a risk assessment and an assessment of priority and need for the project being undertaken.
We appreciate your support on this important issue and look forward to your positive response. Please direct your reply to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nature Conservation Council of NSW
Hon Matt Kean
Hon. Natalie Ward
Minister for Metropolitan Roads
Hon. James Griffin
Minister for Environment and Heritage
Hon. Chris Minns
Leader of the Opposition
Hon. Daniel Mookhey
Hon. John Graham
Shadow Minister for Roads
Hon. Penny Sharpe
Shadow Minister for Environment and Heritage
Hon. Anthony Albanese
Hon. Dr Jim Chalmers
Hon. Tanya Plibersek
Minister for Environment and Water