Greens transport spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon is calling on the federal Labor government to add their voice the retention of the Newcastle rail line to ensure the new Newcastle city university campus has the public transport services required to meet the needs of the thousands of students and staff who will come into the city centre each day.
"It would be irresponsible of the federal government to commit $30 million on top of the university's own $40 million contribution if they did not stand up for the retention and expansion of the public rail system to service the city campus," Senator Rhiannon said.
"Newcastle University Vice-Chancellor Caroline McMillen has estimated that 3000 students and 1200 staff will be working at the city campus each day.
"The O'Farrell government's proposal to rip up the rail lines into the heart of Newcastle would be a serious setback for the Newcastle city campus.
"If the Gillard government fails to speak out against the NSW Coalition plans they risk the viability of the city campus and wasting public money.
"The NSW Coalition plan would be a gift to developers who have been attempting to get their hands on this land for over a decade.
"A strong community campaign has saved the rail from successive state Labor and Coalition plans to cut the line.
"Now the federal government has a role in backing the retention of the Newcastle rail line.
"Proposals from Save Our Rail and other transport experts provide some solid recommendations on how to ensure rail, vehicle and pedestrian traffic can coexist in the city centre.
"This is a time when local Labor MPs should be calling on their government to have a holistic approach to the campus development so education, transport and development needs of this region work in harmony," Senator Rhiannon said.