The Federal Government has today provided the environmental approval for Stage 2 of the WestConnex motorway.
Today’s decision gives the New South Wales Government the green light to start construction on this key piece of infrastructure.
WestConnex is a $16.8 billion project which will deliver real benefits to millions of people in western and south-western Sydney, with much improved connections to the CBD, inner west and the airport.
The decision follows a thorough assessment process and a significant period of public consultation.
Conditions on the approval under national environmental law endorse those imposed as part of approval under the New South Wales development consent.
These include comprehensive conditions to secure offsets for the critically endangered Cooks River / Castlereagh Ironbark Forest ecological community and Green and Golden Bell Frog.
This includes a captive breeding plan for the Green and Golden Bell Frog and the construction and maintenance of additional habitat.
Construction affecting the Castlereagh Ironbark ecological community cannot commence until offsets are identified and evidence is provided that they are achievable.
Stage 2 of WestConnex involves the construction of twin tunnels approximately 9 kilometres in length between Beverley Hills and St Peters, Sydney.
Only Stage 2 of WestConnex was referred for Commonwealth environmental approval. Stage 1 is already under construction and Stage 3 is yet to commence.
Labor deliberately stalled the final environmental approval decision on this important project.
The Coalition adhered to the caretaker conventions during the election campaign and sought to consult with Labor during the caretaker period to ensure an environmental approval decision for this significant infrastructure project could be made promptly. However, Shadow Environment Minister Mark Butler deliberately stalled the process.
Now that the caretaker period has finished, the Coalition has been able to make the decision to approve the project – which will have significant benefits for the people of New South Wales.