Logistics News

Moorebank battle heats with EIS close

Concerned residents are ramping up their ‘no intermodal' at Moorebank campaign as the government prepares its Environmental Impact Statement

By Sean Muir |
August 7, 2012

A transport modeller, an industrial chemist and a
local council candidate are among a growing group of residents opposing plans for an intermodal freight terminal at Moorebank.

As the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Federal Government’s proposed terminal is prepared, concerned residents have begun to ramp up
their ‘no intermodal’ campaign.

As part of the campaign, the group is also opposing the private proposal by the Sydney Intermodal Terminal Alliance (SIMTA)
for a terminal adjacent to the government’s proposed site.

SupplyChain Review has in the past week alone received close to 20 emails from anxious residents opposing both terminal proposals.

Industrial chemist John Peverill says among the group’s concerns are fears that extra trucks and diesel fumes resulting from the proposed terminals
will seriously impact health in surrounding communities.

“If residents are not killed or maimed on the roads they will be required to breathe in a toxic mix of diesel fumes laden with carcinogens,” Peverill says.

“The total air pollution from two intermodals and a freight rail line will increase incredibly causing major illnesses to all in the community, especially considering that we are located in the Sydney basin where pollution tends to hang in the air.”

Peverill estimates more than 1000 residents are actively opposed to the intermodal terminals.

Transport modeller and Chipping Norton resident Narelle van den Bos says another concern is
a lack of transparency regarding financial figures the government has provided as part of its proposal.

van den Bos says she wants to see the government’s estimates on costs
that will result from
increased fatalities and accidents involving heavy vehicles.

She says she also wants to know how the government produced a figure of $10 billion in community benefits
from the project.

But she says many of the figures provided in the government’s detailed business case (pictured) have been blacked out on the document, making them inaccessible to the public.

“I simply could not believe it, a document, which should explain to the public how the benefits are determined, has been mostly blocked out,” she tells SupplyChain Review.

“Are we expected to believe these figures without being able to look at how they have been derived?”

Standing in the upcoming Liverpool council election, local resident John Anderson has made the cornerstone of his campaign opposing the proposed Moorebank intermodal terminals.

“We must fight this idea with all our strength as the area has the worst air pollution in Sydney and would not be able to withstand this armada of diesel trucks and the locomotives are on average 36 -50 years old and offer a greater risk to residents,” Anderson says.

In response to the community’s concerns, a Department of Finance and Deregulation spokesperson says it has been engaging with local residents since commencement of the federal project’s feasibility study in 2010.

“The issues most frequently raised were the suitability of the site due to nearby residential areas, traffic congestion, air quality, health issues and noise,” the spokesperson says.

The spokesperson says the state and federal planning authorities are working to assist the Moorebank Project Office to address both governments’ requirements and prepare an EIS that satisfies the requirements of both jurisdictions.

“The planning authorities identified a number of specialist environmental studies that will need to be undertaken as part of the EIS process, these include air quality impacts, traffic, transport and access, noise and vibration, biodiversity, human health risk assessment and a health impact assessment to name a few,” the spokesperson says.

“The specialist environmental studies included the key issues raised by the local residents with the project team.”

The spokesperson says the EIS, incorporating the findings of the specialist studies, is expected to be ready to go on public exhibition in late 2012 or early 2013, when the community will have an opportunity to comment on the project.

There will be a second round of community information sessions at this time to enable the community to discuss the EIS with the project’s technical and environmental experts.

With regards to the blacked out areas of the project’s detailed business case, the
Department of Finance and Deregulation says:

“As stated on the second page of the document, certain information contained within the Detailed Business Case has been redacted because it is commercially sensitive.”

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