Deception is the name of the game

Deception is the name of the game
Image: Artist's impression of the Rozelle Interchange smokestacks. Photo: Studio Chris Fox.

Opinion by PETER HEHIR

Two scientists engaged by RAW (Rozelle Against WestConnex) in 2016 have estimated that based on figures provided by the Roads and Maritime Services (now Transport for NSW), and gathered over a couple of decades from the M5 East tunnel, that every year, each lane kilometre will release approximately one metric tonne of unfiltered potentially cancer causing particles.

Mark Curran was one of these two scientists. He has the expertise to take the raw data provided to him by the then RMS for almost two decades, and produce the alarming figures.  The variable is obviously the volume of traffic, hence the use of the word “approximately”.

It may well exceed one tonne per lane kilometre, as projected patronage in the M5 East tunnel has been exceeded.

Both the Liberal and Labor Parties have categorically ruled out any possibility of ever filtering the hundreds of tonnes of carcinogenic diesel particles that will be released annually, once the four stacks in Rozelle become operational.

They’ve both said so in the NSW Parliament, stating that “it is too expensive” when opposing a motion moved by Balmain Greens MP Jamie Parker.

Lib and Lab


Politics is such a dirty business… Is it any wonder then that the vast majority of voters remain cynical and see so little to choose from between Tweedle dumb and Tweedle dumber.

The NSW Government and the then RMS knew that when WestCONnex was being designed, that the tunnels – and their lack of filtration, weren’t ‘world’s best practice’, as their front man kept spruiking.

The 18km Yamate tunnel in Tokyo utilises in tunnel filtration and the tunnel air is almost certainly much cleaner than that of the outside Tokyo air. But the ultimate slap in the face is that the builder of the Yamate and WestCONnex are one and the same!

So why no filters here?

Just to save a few bucks in construction costs, which means more profit for the Chinese Government run Chinese Communications Construction Company, which owns CRB Holland.

The ‘Tweedles’ both state ‘it’s too expensive to filter’. Yet another lie, for two irrefutable reasons.

The running costs of the huge exhaust fans far exceed the cost of servicing the filtration equipment; (This was proven in the notes which RAW has a copy of, taken by Gary Humphries, a senior tunnelling engineer from the RMS in his visit to the Yamate in 2004); and the cost of the morbidity and mortality to those in the fallout zones, due directly to the failure to filter, isn’t even considered in the Rozelle Interchange EIS.

It will obviously run into billions…

And you can be certain the Chinese Government won’t be picking up the tab. That huge bill will be paid for by the NSW taxpayer, further overloading an already stressed NSW Health system.

It is a fact that retro fitting filtration to existing tunnels is expensive. This was pointed out by RAW in 2016 and much earlier by Mark Curran in his role as one of the spokespersons for RAPS (Residents Against Polluting Stacks).

But pleas to design tunnels with in tunnel filtration, as happens in much of the rest of the civilised world, fell on deaf ears…

A copy of the report prepared by RAW that details the need for filtration and that filtration is indeed world’s best practice, was lodged with the NSW Government during the exhibition phase of the Rozelle Interchange and again when the Western Harbour Tunnel was exhibited.

Modelling tests conducted by Monash University in December 1999 to determine the plume dispersal from the M5 east stack, proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the lie repeatedly pedalled by the now TfNSW, was exactly that.

A lie.

The tests showed that the plume didn’t rise up into the atmosphere and dissipate harmlessly. It settled on the downstream homes in Earlwood. The video caused consternation when viewed by the RMS, especially from those who lived in the area.

It has never seen the light of day.

So don’t be conned when you cast your vote, even if you are a rusted on major party supporter. Use your vote as a protest and then vote for the Party of your choice.

Previous data leads the investigation 

To ignore the impact of the four huge stacks in Rozelle, is to put your health and your children’s health at risk. Mark Curran lives in the plume from the M5 East Turrella stack and is now one of a great many suffering in the Earlwood cancer cluster.

NSW Health first observed the emergence of the cluster not long after the M5 East exhaust stack became operational. The 44% spike was centred on the plume, while the rest of the State showed a 9% drop in lung cancers.

It was considered that this may have been caused by the exhaust stack, but also possibly by the proximity to the airport and the port. A follow up study was suggested by those who were concerned – but; surprise, surprise, this never happened.

Perhaps the answer was just too horrific to contemplate…

Peter Hehir is the Convenor of RAW Rozelle Against WestConnex. He has no political affiliation.

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