A People’s M4 EIS

This website exists to help people take back some control over the planning process. It is independent of any other organisation and is entirely volunteer run and funded.

Our aim is to help people access information needed to understand how the NSW Baird government’s 33 kilometre Westconnex tollway project would affect not just transport options but also the future environment and health of Sydney. The People’s M4 EIS is part of a broader community attempt to open up public debate about the Westconnex and counter the lack of transparency in decision making surrounding it.

The Westconnex is a single project, to be delivered in five separate stages. This means that while supposed broad benefits of the whole project are constantly proclaimed by the NSW government and Sydney Motorway Corporation, the negative impacts of the whole project are never assessed.

The EIS for the Westconnex M4 East was published by the NSW Department of Planning as a large PDF document – over 1GB, and nearly 5000 thousands of pages – on September 9, 2015. The community was given only 45 days to submit responses, although this was extended by ten days to November 2 because of a failure by the Westconnex Delivery Authority to file all the required documents.

Before waiting for the results of the EIS and planning process, the Westconnex Delivery Authority has already awarded the contract to build the M4 East to a consortium led by CIMIC (previously Leightons) and Samsung.

The way that NSW Planning Department and the Westconnex Delivery Authority have designed and published the EIS does not make it accessible. We’ve made it a little easier to find the bits you want in the PDFs.

We have published several parts of the EIS in a format that is easier to read and enables you to cut and paste text more easily to build your own submission.

We have solicited and shared some ‘plain English’ commentaries to help you to make your own informed assessment of the Westconnex M4 tunnel. One of the problems with the EIS is that it fails to engage with contemporary developments in transport planning and critiques of its approach. This is a serious problem when the decisions to be made will have a huge impact.

We will be publishing some sample submissions, so that you can see what other people do or don’t like about the M4 East project.

You can comment on any page or reply to anyone else’s comments. If you have made a submission you would like us to share, please let us know. If you have ideas for how we can develop the People’s EIS, leave a comment on this page.

In this way we hope together to break through the daunting amount of data and help the community to build strong individual and group responses.

Your contributions will help build an independent source of information for the community about the project.

Here’s how you make a submission to the official planning process :


Additional Note on November 2

Parts of the People’s M4 EIS have been submitted to the NSW Department of Planning to be considered as part of the assessment process.

We will continue to provide updates on the rest of the planning process and you can follow our partner People’s New M5 EIS site.

People: Many people have contributed to this project including Ben Aveling, Wendy Bacon, Luke Bacon, Lisa Cross, Henare Degan, Nicole Gooch, Miska Mandic and others. Thanks to all our contributors

8 thoughts on “A People’s M4 EIS

  1. Fantastic! Thank you to those who have worked so hard to get this site up-and-running. It will assist us residents to share our concerns and share what we have learned in interactions with the WDA “team”.


  2. I think the project would be more worthwhile if it were less obviously partisan. As it stands, it’s hard to believe anything you solicit written in “plain English” won’t just be polemic


    • The EIS is written entirely from the perspective of the ‘proponent’ which is Westconnex. Aecom that managed and prepared much of the EIS has involvement in many aspects of this project – from concept design to ‘traffic director’. So it is reasonable to warn people to treat official EIS data and its presentation with scepticism. Likewise claims of critics should also be tested. One of the ideas behind the project is to subject the empirical claims to scrutiny so if you see any factual claims by critics you think are false Anthony Johns please be sure to comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Given the steps that have been taken by the NSW Government to privatise Westconnex Delivery Authority and NSW Planning department in the name of “fast tracking”: such as construction awards before planning approval, lack of independent review, and no obvious review of public transport options – I have never felt more sceptical and disillusioned by a government.

    Thank you for the clarity of your submission —


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