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Baird govt’s Newcastle rail betrayal delivers for Liberal’s developer mates

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 23 Dec 2014

The Greens say the NSW Liberal/National government's plan to close the Newcastle rail line this week is another betrayal of the people of the Hunter.

"Despite two Liberal Newcastle MPs, Tim Owen and Andrew Cornwell, resigning in disgrace the Baird government is pushing ahead with the rail line closure which is nothing more than a land grab for their developer mates," said Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon.

Senator Rhiannon has congratulated today's action by Greens MP David Shoebridge and Newcastle Greens councillor Michael Osborne, and the community groups that for over two decades have campaigned against Liberal, National and Labor plans to remove the rail line.

"Save Our Rail are doing outstanding work in backing the retention of the full rail line and I congratulate them for seeking an injunction against the closure. The government should listen to the clear message from community organisations and local Greens groups that the Newcastle City rail line should be retained.

"The plan to cut the rail line in Newcastle is a slap in the face to the people of the Hunter.

"Abbott's obsession with building unsustainable roads at the expense of public transport is a policy disaster. In major cities around the world, public transport use is increasing and car use is in decline.

"The government plan to cut Newcastle rail line will create major traffic and parking problems, which will be further exacerbated with the construction of the new University campus in the city.

"Given the recent turmoil in NSW politics in the Hunter, and that there is an Inquiry into the planning process in the region which has yet to give it's full report, the lack of transparency around this decision is appalling.

"There has been no cost-benefit analysis of the decision, there is no timetable for the introduction of the promised light rail system, and there has been little meaningful consultation with the community.

"It is welcome news that NSW Labor has overturned their former transport minister, Michael Costa's, 2004 decision to cut the rail line at Broadmeadow. Now the Baird government should follow Labor's backflip and retain the Newcastle rail line," said Senator Rhiannon.

Media contact: Brami Jegan 0487 350 880 for Senator Rhiannon
David Shoebridge 0408 113 952 or 9230 3030


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