Toll Roads Inquiry a Good Start, Long Way to go for Transparency and Objectivity in Transport Planning in NSW

Friday, October 20, 2017 | Dr Mehreen Faruqi

Greens MP and Roads & Transport spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC, has welcomed recommendations from the inquiry into the toll roads in NSW but has said the recommendations do not go far enough to improve transparency and objectivity in transport planning in NSW.

Dr Faruqi was the Greens NSW representative on the inquiry and issued a dissenting statement (Page 138 of the report)

Dr. Faruqi said:

“The inquiry was a timely investigation into toll road projects and the significant community concerns about how these contracts are made and who benefits.

“Unfortunately both Labor and Liberals rejected the Greens’ recommendation to give the NSW Auditor General ‘follow the money’ powers so they can look into secretive organisations like the Sydney Motorway Corporation.

“The committee’s recommendation to mandate the disclosure of business cases is an important one, but unfortunately stops short of requiring full disclosure before the start of a project. There is no reason why the community shouldn’t know why these projects are being built.

“Public transport options should always be considered before committing to any major road project. It is disappointing that this recommendation from the Greens was rejected by the committee.

“I was disappointed that several Greens recommendations that would have strengthened the report were not considered, including mandating the consideration of public transport alternatives to polluting toll roads, measures to strengthen accountability by giving the NSW Auditor General ‘follow the dollar’ powers, and to refer the issue of monopolisation in the toll road sector to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for review

“The Greens will continue to oppose this Government’s toxic toll roads agenda and push for public transport alternatives,” she concluded.

Toll Roads Inquiry report is online here: https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/committees/inquiries/Pages/inquiry-details.aspx?pk=2428

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