Bulldozing a road through the oldest national park in Australia would be a ill-considered mistake, environmentalists say.
The threat to extend the F6 through 60 hectares of the Royal National Park did not come with specifics when it emerged on Wednesday, but drew instant fire from environmentalists.
The NSW Greens said cutting into the national park was alarming given that funding proper upgrades to the rail line between Wollongong and Sydney – including completing the Maldon to Dombarton line – were likely to be cheaper than acquiring and demolishing homes.
Greens environment and transport spokeswoman Dr Mehreen Faruqi said it was a false choice between bulldozing homes and cutting through the park.
“The Government is pitching a false dichotomy between building in a national park and hundreds of people losing their homes,” she said.
“The reality is that the F6 will be a disaster either way. We know there is another way to improve people’s commute by upgrading the train line which is more effective, less destructive and cheaper.”
NSW Labor, the Nature Conservation Council (NCC) and the National Parks Association also joined the chorus of protest for the park.
Acting opposition leader Michael Daley called on the Government to come clean about its considerations.
“Gladys Berejiklian has got to be kidding. She’s happy to spend three or four billion dollars on a tunnel to the northern beaches so that no one’s homes or parklands are affected but when it comes to the people of Sydney’s south they get a choice between bulldozing over 400 homes or gouging a large part out of Australia’s most iconic national park,” he said.
“Sydney region bushland is a precious legacy that we have been entrusted to protect and hand on to our children,” NCC Campaigns Director Daisy Barham said.
“Destroying any of this world-class park would be totally unacceptable to the NSW community and will be vigorously opposed.”
And National Parks Association NSW CEO Kevin Evans said the park “adds incalculable value to people’s standard of living”.