Such a project would have been devastating to the communities of St. Peters, Alexandria, Tempe and Marrickville. It would have demolished the recently restored Tempe wetlands and a number of other popular local reserves and channeled tens of thousands of extra cars per day into horrific bottlenecks on what are currently quiet residential streets. Needless to say, many people were unhappy with this idea. A well-coordinated campaign against the plan was launched by the people of inner southern Sydney, resident action group Tempe 2020 and my Greens colleagues on Marrickville Council. The government finished up their round of sham community consultation then promptly went quiet about the project. It seemed as though maybe they’d seen sense and decided to subtly drop the plans in such a way that no one would remember how bad they were in the first place (likely helped to this decision by the fact that the road ran through the electorates of both Premier Keneally and her Deputy Carmel Tebbutt, the latter of which the Greens are strong contenders to take at the next election).
Sadly, the state budget released this week shows the plans are still on the boil, with $5 million dollars allocated to an “M5 corridor study” centred on Arncliffe. The good news is that the government still don’t have a funding source for the actual construction of the road, but that just makes this $5m that much more of a waste.
It seems the campaign is not over yet. I will be writing to newly appointed Roads Minister David Borger to tell him that the people of Alexandria, St Peters and Roseberry don’t want to see this horrific road built and that we don’t want $5 million of taxpayers money wasted on a study for a road that should never go ahead. I would encourage anyone else who feels strongly about this to do the same (email firstname.lastname@example.org). If the government doesn’t listen then we’ll be out on the streets and in the parks once again to say “no way” to the RTA.
Image by Nick James of Tempe 2020.