Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Dump the Secret Superhighway that would cut through the Blue Mountains World Heritage Wilderness

Today’s announced superhighway scheme is an absurd attack on the precious Blue Mountains World Heritage Wilderness that the Carr Government fought so hard to protect in 2000.

“I am amazed that the NSW Government is allowing the National Party Member for Lachlan, Ian Armstrong to do its dirty work on this superhighway scheme.  You would have thought that the State Government has had enough of bad road schemes after the cross city tunnel fiasco, but this proposed 94 kilometre monument to concrete would make that white elephant look like a pygmy”, said Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

Mr Muir believes Armstrong’s vision “To spread western Sydney across the Blue Mountains and west into Bathurst must be Sydney’s worst nightmare come true (ABC radio, 4/2/04). Make no mistake this proposed superhighway would encourage urban sprawl, ruin the Bilpin area and compromise World Heritage.  To cap it off this Sinclair Knight Mertz report ‘released’ to the media today by Mr Armstrong will not be publicly available for a few days.”

“Well I have the detailed June 2000, Maunsell McIntyre report that damns this superhighway proposal as grossly uneconomic,” he said.

“The Government’s secret two million dollar Sinclair Knight Mertz superhighway study ignores the origin and destination of Mountains road traffic.  The vast majority of the vehicle movements in the Mountains is local, not through traffic. This concrete monster could not serve that need; its a thoroughly stupid scheme,” said Mr Muir.

“There are many arguments against this proposed road.  It would not only damage World Heritage listed areas, the Grose and Wollemi Wilderness areas, tourism, cultural heritage, endangered shale forest communities and require the acquisition of national park land. Where the proposed superhighway passes over the Newnes Plateau it would also impact upon nationally endangered shrub swamps, Lithgow’s water supply and outstanding scenery in the western Blue Mountains”, Mr Muir said.

“Its time for the Government to stop this superhighway nonsense, that seeks to pursue the outmoded policy of expensive highways in rugged terrain for a few trucks.  The proposed new road would ruin the charming scenic drive on a forest and fern lined road with spectacular vistas of unspoilt wilderness and its pleasant wayside stops to buy flowers, fruit and produce at local stalls.  The current Bells Line of Road should remain a delightful alternative to the Western Highway”, Mr Muir said.

For more information contact: Keith Muir, (02) 9299 7341 (wk) or 9550 3615 (ah)