Tonight I share a story from one of my constituents, Mr Graeme McKay.

I have spoken loudly and often in this place about the impacts of Westconnex, particularly for the people of Ashfield and Haberfield. But I want to share Graeme's story because we do not often hear the voices of citizens in this place. Graeme's moving story captures perfectly the destruction of a suburb for the WestConnex motorway.

Graeme says:

          I was barely four years old when my parents bought the rear of 21 Wattle Street in Haberfield. I would spend the next twenty or so years of my life there.
          We knew many other families in the street: the Barneys, the Ippolitos, the Yakanos, the Martins, the Triggs, the Elliots, the Campagnas, the Whites, the Lettos and the Brasingtons.
          Our parents didn't seem to worry too much about where we were, because we were usually in one of those backyards.
          Both of our immediate neighbours were Italian, and much fruit and vegetables were passed over the fence.
          Just make sure you kept the cricket ball or football out of their gardens!
          Of course traffic was not a major concern. It was back in the days when kids walked to school. I can recall parents mowing the school lawns on weekends.
          We'd ride our bikes without fear as we were so familiar with people in our community.
          We'd meet up at Scott's Haberdashery or the HMD milk bar. You'd see someone you knew outside the MFC, or Moran Cato's or the newsagent.
          On Friday afternoons, you'd play Rugby League at Algie Park where all the local kids formed two teams and it was on.
          These were also great days of community spirit.
          I love the suburb and the people.
          Always have, always will.
          But enough of memory lane. Fast forward to 2016. WestConnex' effect on Haberfield will be devastating.


          At this stage nothing is certain and there is little trust of the Government.
          The heritage significance of Haberfield sounds good on paper, but that won't stand in the way of the Baird Government.
          After all, it is imperative to connect the outer western suburbs with the CBD and Port Botany.
          What a shame it falls short of the CBD by 4 kilometres, and misses Port Botany altogether.
          My old home at 21A Wattle Street will be demolished, along with all the homes on that side of the street. That is half of the street I grew up in.


          Then there's the homes in Walker Avenue, Bland Street, Alt Street, Parramatta Road, Wolseley Street, Northcote Street, Martin Street and Ramsay Street.
          Some residents are living from day-to-day.
          Will they lose their homes—yes, no, maybe, we changed our minds.
          People can't live like that, especially the older folks.
          And what of the homes that were acquired and are no longer needed?
          People forced to leave their homes now find they didn't need to.
          What a disgrace.
          The reality here is that I don't know what will be left of my Haberfield community aside from memories.
          Homes demolished, and for what.


          So many residents uprooted.
          I organised a number of community meetings with a solicitor who specialises in compulsory acquisition compensation.
          What he said at the meetings and what was actually happening were vastly different matters.
          I'm glad I was able to do something for my community. I care about my community.
          Many come from non-English speaking backgrounds, some are elderly and some just don't understand why it's happening. Why would our government do this to us


          You would think that the Government would at least pay people decent compensation for their homes.
          Yes, homes—Not just houses or property. People's homes.
          Homes where people have lived many years, raised families, experienced great times, hard times, Christmas, weddings, parties and BBQs. Their homes have been a major part of it all.
          No more chats over the back fence. Might even have to buy their own fruit and veg.
          No more meeting up at the shops for a coffee.
          Friends of many years may lose complete contact.
          Where do the elderly folks go.
          Perhaps into nursing homes that they weren't prepared for, many kilometres away from lifelong friends.
          Then there's the homes that won't be acquired -


          Those residents will be able to stay and enjoy the increased traffic, pollution, dust, noise and the loss of their property value and amenity


          The Baird Government would have you believe that this incrementally delusional project will connect our suburbs.
          It will, in fact, destroy our communities.
          When did we become so obsessed with being an economy, and forget about being a society.
          This is our life, our home, our future. One we have worked hard to achieve.
          What we are facing here is the destruction of Haberfield—not the homes, heritage or the parks—The government is destroying the people and communit.
          So sleep well, great and powerful leaders.
          Haberfield isn't.