FOWSA Farce: Greens challenge Liberal/Labor backers of WSA to public debate

Wednesday, May 3, 2017 | Lee Rhiannon

A new, cherry-picked ‘Forum On Western Sydney Airport’ has been announced by Federal Minister Paul Fletcher to ram through unpopular flight paths and side-step open public criticism of the flawed project.

The Greens are calling on Liberal and Labor MPs who back the construction of Western Sydney Airport to face the public at a town hall style meeting and be willing to debate why they continue to support this increasingly controversial project. 

Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon has said that she is ready to debate the backers of the WSA and any members of the carefully selected pro-airport ‘Forum’ which is actually supposed to reflect overall public opinion in western Sydney and the Blue Mountains. 

“This biased ‘Forum’ will never provide a fair assessment for residents of western Sydney because it is designed to be a rubber stamp for government policy which has attempted to foist a dud airport upon them.

“It is time that the likes of Paul Fletcher, David Borger, Luke Foley, Marise Payne and Anthony Albanese fronted the public and dealt with the controversial issues that are dogging this project, such as inflated job numbers, increased air pollution and the misuse of public funds,” Senator Rhiannon said. 

“We put the challenge to the MPs backing the WSA to join us at a public event and test if they can dispel the growing concern that it will be the public that will have to bail out this white elephant of a project. 

“We have issued this challenge following reports that 800,000 residents of Blacktown and the Hills have been denied any voice on FOWSA, and that a proposed Mayoral Public Forum at Blacktown has been cancelled because no-one supporting the airport would attend.

“There are many issues about the proposed WSA that deserve a thorough public airing. 

“Reports from finance experts Standard and Poors show Western Sydney Airport projections to be uneconomic and unattractive to investors. This has resulted in Sydney Airport Corporation baulking at building the project. 

“Deutsche Bank has said they would prefer to invest in Sydney Airport rather than WSA. 

“Heavyweights like Paul Fletcher and Anthony Albanese can easily hold invitation-only dinners at $2500 per head and preach to the converted. The test is, are they willing to stand up at a public meeting and argue their case. 

“We all know an extra airport will make the air of Western Sydney hotter, dirtier and less healthy than it already is, because this is admitted in the Environmental Impact Statement carried out by Mr Fletcher’s own Department of Infrastructure.”

“We would welcome the opportunity to debate the backers of WSA. We want to argue the case for High Speed Rail. This is the project that will drive jobs and sustainable transport solutions along Australia’s east coast,” Senator Rhiannon said. 

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