Parliamentary inquiry likely for rail line

A parliamentary inquiry into contentious Hunter planning decisions, including the truncation of Newcastle’s heavy rail, looks set to go ahead with the crossbench indicating it will provide the key support needed to set it up, reports the Newcastle Herald.

The Christian Democrats and the Shooters and Fishers MPs, who share the balance of power in the upper house, are expected to join Labor in backing next week the motion to establish a select committee from Greens MLC David Shoebridge.

In what would be another headache for the government in the lead-up to next year’s election, the inquiry would focus on the government’s Newcastle urban renewal strategy, including the planned truncation of heavy rail and installation of light rail.

Christian Democrat MLC Reverend Fred Nile, who would chair the inquiry, said it would hear from the public, unlike ICAC.

The transport and planning ministers would probably be called to provide ‘‘justification for some of the decisions, whether they’re being done because of developer donations and the influence of the [former] Lord Mayor of Newcastle’’.

And in a separate move, Lake Macquarie independent MP Greg Piper will put forward a bill to retain vacant rail corridor land for public use and protect it from development.

Read the full article at the Newcastle Herald.