Gibbons backs local opposition to intermodal terminal

NSW Liberal MP joins locals in opposing the Moorebank intermodal terminal over traffic, health and environmental concerns

By Brad Gardner | September 16, 2011

NSW Liberal MP Melanie Gibbons has joined a community push to defeat the proposed Moorebank intermodal terminal south-west of Sydney, warning of significant disruptions if the development goes ahead.

As residents circulate a petition to drum up opposition to the terminal, Gibbons claims it – along with another proposed facility in the neighbouring suburb of Wattle Grove – will cause environmental and health problems while burdening local roads already pushed to capacity.

She says the Moorebank terminal will likely sit about 490 metres from the nearest homes and within a 2.5km radius of childcare centres and schools.

"Without doubt and regardless of mitigation measures, it will cause noise pollution with trucks and freight trains operating 24 hours a day," she says.

"It is probable that it will cause light spill from its operations. It is likely to cause airborne pollution, especially from the diesel emissions of the trucks and trains."

Gibbons claims her opposition is not a "not in my backyard" issue, but alternatives must be investigated.

"We need to consider the health impacts and we also need to consider the environmental concerns. Unfortunately, I am concerned that the progress of NSW and the need for Port Botany to have a longer lifespan may completely override the concerns of this area," Gibbons says.

Locals plan to present a petition of 10,000 signatures to NSW Parliament opposing the terminal.

Federal Liberal MP Craig Kelly earlier this week called for a public inquiry and a health-risk assessment before development went ahead. He claims diesel emissions and air pollution from the terminal could cause cardiovascular disease, asthma attacks and diabetes.

"Overseas studies have found that intermodal terminals are hot spots for diesel emissions, adversely affecting local air quality and health," he says.

"Sydney’s south-west is already more prone to air pollution than other areas of Australia."

A feasibility study is already being conducted and is due to finish by next year. The Federal Government expects staged construction to begin in 2013. An environmental impact assessment has been announced and will consider the terminal’s effect on air, water, noise and light quality and traffic levels.

The Moorebank terminal is considered an ideal site in dealing with significant growth in the container freight task. The Federal Government says the terminal will allow more container freight to travel by rail, in turn reducing the number of trucks on Sydney’s M5 and local road networks.

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