The Australian Senate has passed a Greens' motion calling on the NSW government to reverse its decision to truncate the heavy rail line into Newcastle and the Federal government to commit to investing in public transport infrastructure in regional Australia.
Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon said: "The Greens put this motion before the Senate to win federal support for the Newcastle community rallying against the NSW Liberal/National government's decision to truncate the rail line into the heart of Newcastle.
"The support of the federal Senate is important for the local community who are becoming increasingly concerned that the NSW Coalition government plans to hand over the transport corridor slated for closure to property developers.
"Thousands of people use the heavy rail line to directly access the Newcastle city center. Many will be forced to use their cars and will have to endure lengthy delays.
"The whole Hunter region will suffer as this rail line is critical to sustainable transport and local productivity.
Greens spokesperson for transport Senator Janet Rice said: "Top quality rail connections between state capitals and regional cities are of national significance.
"Instead of being obsessed with funding toll roads, the Abbott government should be acting to improve rail connections around the country.
"Investing in public transport will unclog our roads, reduce emissions and make life easier for commuters."
TEXT OF MOTION
Senator Rhiannon: To move-That the Senate-
(a) notes that:
(i) the New South Wales Government has decided to stop train services in Newcastle on Boxing Day 2014, with heavy rail services to Wickham, Civic and Newcastle stations scrapped,
(ii) the truncation of the rail line into Newcastle has been strongly opposed by the local community, and
(iii) the truncation will increase travel times for passengers travelling to and from Newcastle by up to 25 minutes and residents of the broader Hunter region will suffer as a direct rail connection into the heart of their regional centre is cut; and
(b) calls on:
(i) the New South Wales Government to reverse its decision to truncate the heavy rail line into Newcastle, and
(ii) the Federal Government to commit to investing in public transport infrastructure in regional Australia.
Brami Jegan for Lee Rhiannon: 0487 350 880
Sam Drummond for Janet Rice: 0400 352 935