Member for Summer Hill, Jo Haylen has condemned the Baird Government’s refusal to filter the exhaust stacks for the M4 Tunnel in the face of reports of a $2.1 billion surplus in today’s budget.

Jo Haylen said, “This Government would rather have billions of dollars sitting in the bank than spend the relatively small amount to filter these stacks – and protect the health of our kids.”

“With the environmental impact statement yet to be released, Haberfield and Inner West residents are furious the Government is hiding the potential threats to families and residents, all while gloating about savings to the Budget bottom line made at the community’s expense,” Ms Haylen said.

Ms Haylen met with Haberfield residents over the weekend, with many expressing dismay and horror at the unfiltered stacks set to be built in their backyard.

“The people of Haberfield don’t want polluting stacks thrown up in the heart of their suburb, close to Haberfield Public School, the Infants’ Home, child care centres, churches, nursing homes and residential properties,” Ms Haylen said.

Residents are also outraged at the extent of the damage being wrought on one of Sydney’s finest heritage suburbs.

“Locals have spent tens of thousands of dollars to upgrade and renovate their homes to heritage standards, only to have a mammoth toll road plonked in the middle of the suburb with no business case, no planning approval and with no idea of the health risks,” Haylen said.

“Minister Gay has referred to the air quality of the stacks as a weak shandy, but the truth is he’s hiding the health risks. The Minister must lift the veil of secrecy over this project and stop cutting corners when it comes to the health and safety of Inner West families,” Ms Haylen said.

22 June 2015.