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‘Absolutely shattered’ northern beaches residents take on NSW Premier

Article image for ‘Absolutely shattered’ northern beaches residents take on NSW Premier

Homes are already being acquired by the NSW government for the $14 billion Beaches Link tunnel, despite uncertainty around the project.

Labor have pledged to scrap the new road, which would connect the Northern Beaches to the Warringah Freeway in North Sydney, if they win the next election, while the Premier has alluded to the project being pushed back or ditched altogether.

54 properties in Artarmon, Balgowlah, Seaforth, Killarney Heights and Frenchs Forest will be purchased under compulsory land acquisition legislation to make way for the construction.

“It begs the question, if one leader is iffy on the project and one leader is dead-set against the project, why are locals being forced to give up their homes?” Jim Wilson asked.

Balgowlah resident Shirley Butcher is one such unhappy local, and told Jim she and husband John were “absolutely shattered” when the government offered them nearly $1 million less than the true market value of their home to acquire it.

She’s calling on the government to halt acquisitions until the project is guaranteed to go ahead.

“We’ve got 800 square metres, we’ve got a four-car garage, a beautiful Federation house.

“There’s no way we’re going to be able to purchase in this area.

“Just give us that breathing space until a decision is made, one way or the other.”

Press PLAY below to hear her story in full

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet responded to Shirley and John’s concerns by confirming his government is “absolutely committed to building the infrastructure pipeline that we’ve announced”.

He noted the timing may need to change due to the state’s debt position, but couldn’t commit to pausing acquisitions in the meantime.

“Housing and home acquisitions are incredibly, incredibly difficult.

“But the alternative is that the government doesn’t build anything.”

Press PLAY below to hear the Premier’s response in full

Shadow transport and roads minister John Graham told Jim he’s concerned by the lack of certainty the Premier offered in his response.

“If the project’s delayed, the purchases should be too.”

A Labor government would not build the Beaches Link, he confirmed.

“It’s a $10 billion toll road. We want transport to the northern beaches, but this is just the wrong answer.

“There’s pressing transport priorities for people, often public transport, needed now.”

Press PLAY below to hear Labor’s response in full

Jim Wilson Exclusive