Gillard right on WestConnex

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I can’t quite remember the year but I do remember walking to school and telling my mother that I’d forgotten to do the homework set the night before by my primary school teacher.

The mission was to recite the alphabet in front of the class.

Crash course done, I managed to stumble my way through and my chubby face had a sparkling smile from ear to ear. Until, that is, the teacher discovered the cheat sheet I’d been “cramming” from stuffed into my front pocket.

I’d forgotten the key rule in pretending you know what you’re talking about; that being, don’t carry the evidence that proves you actually don’t have a clue.

Homework’s been a big issue this week.

First, Julia Gillard did her homework and realised that WestConnex funding should be dependent on an extension being built from the M4 to the city.

Then, Penrith Councillors did theirs on the Kemps Creek radioactive waste issue but still came away divided.

Oh, and there’s the Australian cricket team, four of whom literally didn’t do their homework.

Let’s deal with the PM and WestConnex first. You don’t have to do too much homework to know that the missing link on Sydney’s road network is between where the M4 ends at North Strathfield and the city itself.

The crawl along Parramatta Road and the City West Link has kept hair colouring companies in business, such is the stress it has caused drivers.

Ms Gillard’s move last week to commit funding to the WestConnex project on the proviso that the connection between the M4 and the city be built has been met with some criticism, but she is 100 per cent right.

We’ve heard about the M4 extension for years and years and years. It’s off the agenda and back on it again more often than I change my underwear and I promise you, that is at acceptably regular intervals.

Call it a bribe, call it a demand, call it anything you like, let’s realise that this section of infrastructure needs to be built as it is the last remaining gap between Sydney and the west.

In an opinion piece for The Daily Telegraph on Tuesday, NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell said: “This motorway project ticks all the boxes”.

But it doesn’t, because whilst extending the M4 to Petersham, it doesn’t create the direct motorway link from Penrith to the city that is needed for this and other neighbouring regions to truly become part of “connected Sydney”.

He also said, “Labor governments have squabbled over the M4 and M5 upgrades for years but did nothing.”

True story.

But that doesn’t change the fact that if Mr O’Farrell doesn’t build the direct link from the M4 to the city, he’ll be remembered as the Premier who failed to deliver the missing link everyone craves.

Moving onto Penrith Council and Labor Councillors took the dramatic step to walk out of Monday night’s council meeting after a decision was made to not fund a public rally at the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre in relation to the Kemps Creek radioactive waste issue.

Anyone who does their homework on this knows that this whole story is bad.

Bad for the residents who rightly don’t want the waste in their backyard, no matter what experts may tell them.

Bad for Mulgoa MP Tanya Davies and Premier Barry O’Farrell, who were so strongly opposed to the waste being transported here when in Opposition.

Back in 2010, Ms Davies said that the local area would not cop being “Labor’s dumping ground for Sydney’s waste”.

As Opposition Leader, Barry O’Farrell labelled plans to dump the waste at Kemps Creek “stupid”, then later said, “when we came into Government, we received advice that disposal of waste at Kemps Creek was the only option”.

It’s so easy in opposition not to do your homework. But one presumes had the homework been done, Mr O’Farrell would have already known about Kemps Creek being the only option whilst he was the Opposition Leader.

Bottom line: the waste shouldn’t be coming here. The Government can use whatever scientific examples it likes, and it can be produce as many reports as it likes, but the commitment to not bring the waste here must be lived up to – it’s that simple.

As for the four Australian cricketers who failed to hand in their homework, we can only shake our heads. The sport is descending into an outright joke.

Runs, not essays, is what Australia needs at the moment.

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