Why are you standing up against the operations of WestCONnex?
Our house was one of the 43 homes in Homebush destroyed. I found out through a local journalist from Strathfield Scene, who knocked on my door one day to ask me what I felt about losing my home. I was in shock and did not know what they were talking about. WestCONnex did not even tell us directly about our homes being demolished. I didn’t go without a fight. I was the last house standing, right until the end. They are putting smoke stacks where those houses were. At this moment it is storage for the machinery where my home used to be.
I was really opposed and tried to get my neighbourhood involved, and I just couldn’t get the support in Homebush. I was isolated. I was going a little mad, thinking that I was crazy. But then I got in touch with the different groups involved with WestCONnex around Sydney, and knew that I was supported and people were thinking like me. This encouraged me to keep fighting. It is the air pollution I worry about. All the cars will cause increased cases of asthma. And there has been an increase in children mostly.
My basic mantra is: public transport, community. You know with public transport you build community. Of course you meet people you make friends, there’s human connection, there ‘s permanent employment, there’s no pollution.
How long have you been involved in the movement? And how long at this Sydney Park camp?
I have been involved since the stage 1 of the M4. 3.5 years now.
What is your vision/the outcome you would like to see for this movement?
Community needs the whole truth. If you want to talk jobs, WestCONnex is short-term. Public transport will keep people employed for so much longer. India has more people and they have a vast public transport system. Public transport employs 22million people in India, that is the whole population of Australia. And this is long-term employment. If you want to talk jobs, WestCONnex is short-term. Public transport will keep people employed for so much longer.
What are you known for in the camp, or in general by your loved ones?
I talk too much.
Photos by Ryan Jasper www.ryanjasperwalsh.com
Piece by Simona Galimberti
Photo by Raj Suri http://rajsuri.net/