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Joint Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
Minister for Small Business & Tourism
Hon Joe Hockey MP
28 September 2004
Member for North Sydney, Joe Hockey, and Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell today announced that a re-elected Howard Government would contribute to the costs of filtration to improve air quality around the new Lane Cove traffic tunnel.
The contribution of the Australian Government will be capped at $10 million with the remainder funded by the State Government.
In making the announcement, Senator Campbell said the imminent start of the tunnel works was an ideal opportunity for the NSW Government to install world's-best filtration technology for particulate and noxious gases removal.
Senator Campbell said with the Australian Government contribution he expected that full filtration of the Lane Cove Tunnel would be implemented as soon as the tunnelling works began.
"The NSW Government has dragged its feet long enough on this issue - air quality is a matter for the State and the residents of the Lane Cove area have a right to expect that the air they breath meets the national standards," Senator Campbell said.
"Our $10 million funding contribution to the filtration system leaves no doubt as to our view on the importance of this issue.
"Anything less than an immediate start on this filtration system will demonstrate that NSW Labor would rather play politics than meet its responsibilities to people in this area."
Mr Hockey said he was delighted on behalf of residents who had been campaigning against State Labor apathy on this important environmental and health issue for years.
"The NSW Government has been taking local residents for a ride. They have promised a 'pilot project' for an unspecified site while giving no assurances that it would be Lane Cove. They have dragged out the process of studying tunnel filtration technology when they know that it has been working well in overseas locations for years.
"The inescapable conclusion is that they are deliberately waiting until the Lane Cove Tunnel is complete and then send the 'pilot project' elsewhere on the grounds that it would be too expensive to retro-fit.
"Today's announcement calls their bluff. They should stop mucking residents around and get on with this important project.
"I would like to pay tribute to local residents for not giving up on this issue in the face of State Government intransigence, especially the Lane Cove Tunnel Action Group, local Mayors and Councillors and my colleague the Member for Lane Cove, Anthony Roberts."