Jo Haylen, Member for Summer Hill, today slammed the hypocrisy of the Education Minister, who has vowed to protect north shore kids from toxic fumes from motorway exhaust stacks while giving planning approval for stacks next to schools in the Inner West.
In response to revelations that ventilation stacks for the proposed Beaches Link Tunnel would be located in close proximity to Seaforth Public School, Minister Stokes said:
“There is no way in hell that we will be putting infrastructure next to schools that increases pollution to those schools. Quite simply, the reason that we build infrastructure is to make people’s lives better.”
At the same time, construction is well under way for a polluting exhaust stack close to Haberfield Public School, the Infants’ Home, aged care facilities and residential homes.
As Planning Minister, Stokes approved the ventilation stack without question.
Former Premier Mike Baird refused to answer questions about the stack in Parliament when pressed by Ms Haylen and former Roads Minister Duncan Gay dismissed residents’ concerns about air quality, saying emissions would drop “like a weak shandy.”
Comments attributable to Jo Haylen MP, Member for Summer Hill:
“For years, Government Ministers have ignored residents’ concerns about the Haberfield stack.
“Now we have the very same Minister who approved it saying there’s no way in hell he’ll do the same north of the bridge.
“If kids are at risk in the north, they’re at risk in Haberfield, too. The only difference is the way their parents vote.
“The Minister’s about-face on the dangers of exhaust stacks is a slap in the face to the parents at Haberfield Public school who he ignored.”
Comments attributable to Jennifer Moore, Haberfield Public School parent:
"Our community has been torn apart, our homes demolished, our streets filled with traffic, all for a tollway and a dirty exhaust stack.
“Now we see this hypocrisy. When he was Planning Minister, Rob Stokes didn’t do anything to stop a stack being built just a few hundred metres from our school.
“It’s great for the students of the Northern Beaches that he’s seen the light, but what about the hundreds of students, parents and staff who’ll be exposed to WestConnex’s toxic emissions at our school?"