The deal between the two neighbouring stakeholders at Moorebank leaves many questions unanswered, community spokesperson Allan Corben writes.
The following is a Letter to the Editor of Rail Express sister publication, Lloyd’s List Australia. It appeared in the print edition of Lloyd’s List Australia on June 25, 2015.
I write in reference to the recent announcement that the SIMTA & the Federal government have agreed to jointly develop the Moorebank intermodal.
Firstly and foremost, the EIS process should commence again from the start.
For the last five years, members of the community have had to contend with the confusion of having to relate to two different proposals, both relating to their own predicted operations.
Now that the development will be substantially larger than previously proposed, it will have a much larger impact on the infrastructure, noise, air quality and traffic.
To put it simply, it’s a new ball game. One of my major concerns is air quality which as you would be aware, has the ability to devastate the local communities’ health. At the time that PAC approved the SIMTA Concept plan, the number of additional diesel truck movements coming into the site on daily basis was suggested to be in the vicinity of 2600.
In mid 2015 we are now talking a figure more like 10,000. When you consider that the PAC determination released in September 2014 clearly stated that the PM2.5 concentrations are close to or above the advisory criteria, would suggest that at full operation, the joint development will substantially exceed the advisory criteria.
As a result of the above, no further approvals should given until such time that independent, qualified evidence is provided that shows what the predicted PM2.5 levels will be when the terminal is in full operation.
Its fine for the proponents to predict levels at various stages of development, as it gives a false impression of the facilities suitability sited in the midst of residential suburbs.
I, like many others, am not particularly interested in knowing what the levels are at completion of stage 1 or 2, but what the level will be at the completion of the development when nothing can be done to mitigate this very harmful pollutant.
Secondly, the proponents have made little commitment in regards to the required road and intersection upgrades that will be required to cope with the massive increase in traffic, other than Moorebank Avenue (Site access point) which will not be carried out till 2029/2030. It should be noted that Moorebank Avenue is the only suitable access to the site. One upgrade is outrageous, when you consider that the facility will be handling up to 500,000 teu annually before any upgrades to the already, near capacity road network are completed.
A comparison of the vehicle accidents noted in SIMTA Concept plan 2004 – 2009 (Appendix K_Transport and Traffic Assessment_Volume 1.pdf, page 16) and Stage 1 2009 – 2013 (Appendix L_SIMTA Stage 1_Traffic and Accessibility Impact Assessment.pdf, page 18) clearly shows there has been an increase of 20% in heavy vehicle accidents, which is of great concern.
It should be noted that this information is only up to 2009. These people advocate to operate at 500,000 teu annually without virtually any roads upgrades, which questions at what percentage of heavy vehicle accidents will increase by that period.
In a speech on the intermodal proposal made by NSW MP Melanie Gibbons in the Legislative Assembly on June 4, she made the following statement: “I have read through the information provided by the company for the next period of community consultation. It says that, should there be an accident on the M5 or Moorebank Avenue, the facility will need to close while the accident is being cleared”.
I could imagine what the transport companies, warehouse tenants and their customers would think of this strategy. This clearly shows that the surrounding road network cannot handle any additional traffic as it stands.
A quick look at the SIMTA Stage 1 EIS suggest that the noise level created by the facility will be below requirements.
This is regardless of the fact that residents living within three km of the Port Botany container terminal are currently suffering from sleep disturbance, yet many people in the suburbs surrounding the proposed site live as close as 400 metres from the site in modern homes that were never designed to deflect excessive noise.
From Allan Corben, member of Liverpool City’s no intermodal committee and community group and RAID (Residents Against Intermodal Development).