Hawes was instrumental in giving $60m to govt to investigate rail cut

The Maitland Mercury reports that a public servant at the centre of a conflict of interest allegation over the Newcastle rail cut was on a board that gave the state government $60 million to help make its decision.

Hunter Development Corporation general manager Bob Hawes was a member of the Hunter Infrastructure and Investment Fund board that earmarked the money for the government, while he owned properties nearby that could be affected by the decision.

He told the parliamentary inquiry into Hunter planning decisions that he owned a 50 per cent share in 1-9 Beresford Street and a 7 per cent stake in 780 Hunter Street.

Both properties are within a block of Wickham Station, where the government has decided to cut the train line and build a multi-million dollar transport hub that will connect to a light rail service into the city.

Mr Hawes was an ex-officio board member of HIIF in 2012 when it recommended that $60 million from the fund be made available to Planning Minister Brad Hazzard for deliberations over the fate of the rail line.

Read the full story at the Maitland Mercury.