SOR wins by-elections – Media release 29/10/2014

Candidates get on the right track!

Save Our Rail claims victory in the by-elections for the seats of Newcastle and Charlestown!

We didn’t need to support candidates in the election – in fact we don’t do that ever – because we have members from all sides of politics. However, because the threat of rail closure is such a burning issue most of the candidates came out declaring their position to be supporting retention of the existing rail line to Newcastle Station.

We think this is because they realise the damage it will cause to close Newcastle down for three years while the Government decides what to do about putting in a replacement system. (No business case or cost/benefit analysis is in evidence – a pre-requisite for any major plan, so one must assume there is nothing definite in the pipeline.)

Businesses will be adversely affected and may never recover because customers will go elsewhere rather than be messed about on buses and many will develop new loyalties.

The by-elections were caused because of candidates accepting illegal donations and being found to have lied to the ICAC investigators over them. Many people are of the belief the donations were designed to achieve the cutting of the rail line to enable large scale development on the corridor.

Joan Dawson, SOR President has written to Premier Baird to ask him to reverse the decision. One paragraph reads:

“You, as Premier of NSW are seen to be endorsing the lies that have led to decisions that are considered as vandalism by the community; your integrity is being compromised and you are advised to step in and put a halt to the destructive decision of ripping up a rail line. An earthquake could not do a more damaging action than your government is planning to do.”

A new broom sweeps clean and our newly elected Members of Parliament will set about holding the Premier to account and ensuring the people of Newcastle and Charlestown do not lose out through his determination to proceed as though the ICAC inquiry didn’t happen. One has to ask why he is stating his intention to pursue an unpopular decision seemingly developer-driven. Has there been a secret deal done for the rail corridor use already?

Both Tim Crakanthorp and Jodie Harrison have proved their commitment to Newcastle and the Hunter Region’s future through their service on Council and they will want to see public transport retained and improved. That is why they declared their support and why they were elected.

The people have spoken and this is a win for Save Our Rail and Newcastle’s future prospects.

Joan Dawson, President, Save Our Rail NSW INC.
PH: 0408 618 198