FULL STEAM AHEAD to save Newcastle Rail – Media release 29/08/2014

FULL STEAM AHEAD is not only an apt name for the next SOR event, but also signals our intention to push on with determination to succeed in keeping direct rail services to Newcastle.

Save Our Rail will be at Newcastle Station at 11.00 a.m. next Saturday, 4th October to GREET AND WELCOME trains STEAMING INTO NEWCASTLE. This will be followed by the delivery of information and family picnic on the foreshore, with a positive message of hope now that a Parliamentary Inquiry is under way. It should be the means for the government to gain a different perspective enabling it to overturn decisions based on misleading advice.

The NSW Government and Premier Baird are saying that they intend to proceed with the projects that have been the result of corrupt processes and lack of community consultation. Despite the crooked dealings exposed by the ICAC investigations they are pushing on as though nothing has happened.

Four of the elected representatives have fallen, two completely gone into oblivion and two sitting uselessly on the cross benches, while a former Minister is also under a cloud – Newcastle and the Lower Hunter Region have hardly any Members of Parliament left. Still Mr Baird comes out saying he will implement these developer driven decisions that will only advantage GPT and others with vested interests, while creating massive disorder and distress to the community.

There is a great opportunity to showcase our city with the coming of the Asian Cup, the city having been chosen for this honour with the rail services intact. How will the organisers be able to succeed in producing a smooth-running event with the transport services crippled? Most of the accommodation will be located close to the current rail line, which I understand was a crucial factor in the choice of Newcastle for this honour. How will transport dysfunction affect the reputation of this city and other NSW cities for future planning of similar fixtures?

For the Government to be continuing on with the plan to shut off Newcastle in this destructive way is sheer bloody mindedness.  If terrorists dropped a bomb on the Newcastle Rail Line there would be outrage, but in effect the state Government is planning to carry out a similar act of vandalism, which will put many out of business and permanently disable the city’s prospects.

Save Our Rail has met once with other groups, and will be further conferencing to ensure the Parliamentary Inquiry gains an insight into the many flawed reports and that the committee is fully briefed on the inadequacy of processes regarding the various shonky planning decisions being imposed on Newcastle and the Hunter Region.

We are saying clearly to the Premier that we do not accept his apology until it is backed up by some commitment to putting on hold the current crop of bad decisions and to opening the door to consultation and transparency.

For further information contact Joan Dawson, President of Save Our Rail NSW Inc on 0408 618 198.