The Planning Minister, Rob Stokes, today contradicted the Minister for Roads saying he would consider a longer exhibition period for the Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) for the Westconnex project than the statutory thirty days.

When asked whether the Government would consider a longer exhibition period, Stokes said, “Given the complexity of these issues, what you raised is worthy of consideration.”

This contradicts Minister Gay’s previous statement on June 23 that the EIS would only go on display “for the statutory period.”

Minister Stokes said, “I certainly will, when I receive the environmental impact statements consider whether there should be an extension on what the statutory standard is for exhibition for these sorts of documents.”

“There is plenty of development going on across Sydney and we do really want to hear what people have to say,” said Stokes.

Jo Haylen, Member for Summer Hill, said, “It was refreshing to hear the Planning Minister acknowledge that projects of this complexity should involve community consultation.”

“Perhaps he understands what Minister Gay clearly does not – that community consultation is a good thing and that clearly, the statutory thirty days is not long enough.”

“The EIS will likely be thousands of pages long and the Government expects the community to work through it in less than a month. That’s less time than it takes most councils to approve a garden shed,” Haylen said.

“A lot of people in the community are desperately waiting on the details in the EIS. They have little to no information about how the project will impact their properties and their lives.”

Ms Haylen moved a motion on June 19 calling on the Government to extend the exhibition period to at least 60 days.

“I’m optimistic that the Planning Minister is more open-minded than the Minister for Roads,” Ms Haylen said.

“Minister Stokes and the Government owe it to residents to decide on the EIS process now and to give the community at least 60 days,” Ms Haylen said.