Letter to the NSW Ombudsman.

I write to complain of the inaction of NSW Planning & Transport NSW to address our community’s concerns regarding the Federal and State Government’s proposal to build Australia’s largest container terminal at Moorebank NSW. The people responsible for this decision are simply ignoring the facts.

There are two proposals to build intermodal terminals on ex defence land on either side of Moorebank Avenue. The first is an 89 hectare site owned by a company named SIMTA and the other 220 hectares under the control of the government-owned Moorebank Intermodal Company (MICL). Also being proposed is that both sites be amalgamated into one to be developed and operated by SIMTA. To date the only proposal approved is the SIMTA Concept Plan, with the MICL EIS currently in the NSW Planning process.

I am a member of the Liverpool City Council No Intermodal Committee, and the local community group, RAID (Residents Against the Intermodal Development) and advise that I spent 47 years of my working life in the transport and logistics industry, including many years in a container handling business.  I held positions from truck driver to senior management which has allowed me to obtain a thorough knowledge of the industry including the incredible impact container terminals that operate 24 hour per day, seven days a week has on residential suburbs, and that Moorebank is the wrong location for this type of industry.  The proponents will tell you that it’s the ideal location, being close to the M5/M7 motorways and adjacent to the Southern freight line, but they completely ignore that the fact that the proposed sites are surrounded by residential housing.

Having not previously being involved in any form of opposition to development, I am absolutely staggered at the disgraceful attitude to our community by the state and federal governments and their various bodies.

In the 5 + years that I have been involved in this issue, I have never received a satisfactory reply to any of the many, many emails I sent to the various areas of government.  I have attended meetings with the Hon. Pru Goward and her senior staff and walked away with the thought that the meeting was an absolute waste of time.  Ms. Goward even made the comment to me that she understood our concerns and suggested we just keep up our opposition.  In a recent telephone conversation I had with a senior person in Transport NSW, the person made the following comment to me that, “You won’t stop this you know” which I found to be a disgraceful attitude considering that neither EIS has been completely approved and suggests that those involved have no intention of taking notice of the community’s concerns and are intent on pushing the development through regardless of the outcome.

Three of our community’s main concerns that have not been addressed are; traffic, noise and air quality, which are explained below;

Traffic: The local Liverpool road network is near capacity, yet the intermodals call for an additional 10,000 truck and 5,700 car movements to come into the area daily and nothing has been advised on how this will be achieved, with the exception of Moorebank Avenue to be widened to four lanes, but not till 2029/2030. A traffic study carried out on behalf of our community shows 32 road intersection that require major upgrades costing in the vicinity of $2.9 billion dollars, yet we have been unable to get an answer on who is responsible to finance and carry out the required upgrades.  If this goes ahead as a private development, the taxpayers should not be expected to pick up the cost.  My personal opinion is that there is no intention to upgrade the road system, it will be a wait and see situation, which is totally unacceptable. 

Noise: Another area that we have been unable to have addressed is how will the proponents mitigate the noise level created by the facilities operation and ensure that those people living in the suburbs that surround the sites are not exposed to noise levels that cause sleep disturbance?  Our concern is based on the fact that people living within a radius of 3 km of the Port Botany container terminal are currently suffering sleep disturbances, yet the fact that there are thousands of people living as close as 400 to 1,000 metres from the proposed Moorebank sites has been totally ignored.

Air Quality: It is well know that the Liverpool area is one of the most polluted areas in the Sydney basin.  This is qualified in a statement made in the PAC/ SIMTA determination, it shows that PM 2.5 levels in the local area are already close to or above the advisory criteria,  yet the proponents intend to bring thousands of diesel-powered trucks and ancient locomotives into the area on a daily basis.  The emissions created by this type equipment is carcinogenic and in the same category as asbestos.  The proponents again ignore this concern.

Following my experiences in this issue, I’m firmly of the opinion that government departments, who are in place to ensure the rules of development are adhered to, are nothing but toothless tigers and simply accept the doctored data provided by developers to support big business stamp it off and forward it to the next in line.

Please be assured that our community is not opposed to industrial development, just the type of industry.

I would appreciate if your department could investigate our concerns as we must ensure developers play the game honestly and, “get it right the first time”.

Yours Sincerely,
Allan Corben
Wattle Grove NSW

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