Public inquiry into intermodal terminal urged

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Hughes MP has called for a public inquiry into proposed Moorebank intermodal freight terminal in Sydney's south-west

Public inquiry into intermodal terminal urged
Public inquiry into intermodal terminal urged

By Brad Gardner | September 13, 2011

A Liberal MP opposed to an intermodal freight terminal in Sydney’s south-west wants an inquiry into the project over concerns it could drive down air quality and health.

Hughes MP Craig Kelly has asked Sustainability Minister Tony Burke to appoint an independent commissioner to hold a public inquiry into the terminal, slated to be built at Moorebank.

Kelly wants the inquiry to conduct a health-risk assessment, and told Federal Parliament the 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 currently underway on the terminal and is expected to be completed by 2012. The Federal Government believes staged construction can begin the following year, subject to planning outcomes.

"Minister, you will be failing in your duty of care to the residents of south-west Sydney if this development is assessed by anything less than a full public inquiry," Kelly says.

The government has already planned an environmental impact assessment, which will consider the terminal’s effect on air, water, noise and light quality and traffic levels.

The terminal is seen as an effective way of meeting a doubling of the freight container task by 2020, with Moorebank considered an ideal location.

"The Western Sydney area is an important point of origin and destination for port freight," the government says.

It 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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