Private Members’ Statement
Mr ANOULACK CHANTHIVONG (Macquarie Fields) (21:17): Tonight I will speak on behalf of my community, because when the history of this Liberal Government is written certain themes will emerge. Backflips will be one. No other Government in the history of this State will ever come close to the number of policy backflips of this Government in such a short period of time. Backflips on greyhounds, Hurlstone Agricultural High School, council amalgamations and the fire and emergency services levy [FESL] come to mind. No doubt others are in the pipeline as the 2019 election draws near.
Another theme of this Government is arrogance. Like its record on backflips, this Government will long hold the record for arrogance. Think of the destruction of trees along Anzac Parade or the decision to ignore the wishes of local communities. But no doubt the signature theme of this Government—the one that will forever define it—is greed in all its forms. I am talking about greed at the expense of hardworking residents, greed to sell off vital public assets such as the Land Titles Office and the electricity network, and greed to privatise public bus services. I am talking about the Government's greed to impose the most draconian and repressive regime of road tolls virtually anywhere in the world.
That brings me to the issue that grips my community every day—the M5 and this Government's consideration of extending the toll for another 40 years until the 2060s, which is well beyond 2026 when the road will be paid off.
Let us think about that for a minute—the M5 is due to be paid off in 2026 but this Government, gripped by its greed, is considering extending the toll for another 40 years to increase the road's value, only to sell it off to the private sector as part of the WestConnex deal. I cannot think of a more blatant or cynical cash grab than that. Who are the victims? They are the struggling residents and motorists of south-west Sydney, including the hardworking people in my electorate, who for 40 long years will be left paying a toll for a road that was paid off in 2026. Even worse, that toll will not be used to make any improvements to the M5 or to alleviate congestion on this embarrassing car park of a road and it is all because of this Government's greed.
This Government has made many cynical decisions but this one is the all-time winner. No doubt the Premier, the Treasurer and the roads Minister will have a top-class spin machine ready to fool the public to make them forget. I can assure the Government that the motorists of south-west Sydney will not forget; my community will never forget. Every day as they pay for a sub-standard road—stuck in yet another traffic jam on their way home from work—they will remember that the road was paid off decades before. This Government has no understanding of the meaning of a fair go or a single clue about the struggles of life in south-west Sydney. My constituents are sick of the Government's spin, tired of its backflips and fed up with being treated so unfairly. We have copped an unfair deal many times before—there is still no lift at Macquarie Fields station and Hurlstone Agricultural High School's vital green education open space has been sold to fatten up the profits of developers.
Now the Government is set to make us pay for decades to come for the Premier's never-ending toll, which will put more pressure on the purse strings of motorists and families across south-west Sydney when household budgets are already stretched to the max. It is unfair, unjustifiable and just another greedy cash grab and the motorists of south-west Sydney will get nothing in return. But each day when those motorists drive on the M5 they will be thinking about one thing—namely, that this Liberal Government is to blame. That judgement day will come and when it does the people will have a say at the ballot box. This appalling decision is rotten to the core. It stinks of a greedy cash grab, of secret deals and of profits before people in my local community.
I will not stand by and let the motorists in our region get whacked with unfair tolls because of this Government's greed, nor will I let this Government rob our pockets yet again. I will always fight for the community's fair share and I will fight against this Government's greedy cash grab. Stop the M5 toll cash grab and look after our motorists.