Hawes’s firm prepared rail cut report instrumental in rail cut decision

As reported in the Maitland Mercury, Bob Hawes was one of two directors of a company in 2009 that Hunter Development Corporation paid almost $50,000 to prepare a report for the state government, which recommended the removal of the Newcastle heavy rail line at Wickham.

This was before he became HDC general manager.

Mr Hawes owns a 50 per cent share of 1-9 Beresford Street, next to the rail corridor opposite Wickham train ­station, which he declared on the HDC official interests register.

However, the Greens have accused him of having a conflict of interest in the Newcastle rail cut issue because of his position as a senior public servant and the proximity of the Beresford Street property to the rail terminus and new transport interchange.

HDC’s recommendation to the ­government to cut the heavy rail line was based on The Newcastle City Centre Renewal Report, which was published in March, 2009.

In its submission to the parliamentary committee investigating Hunter ­planning decisions, the state government noted the report was one of the key ­activities that led to the decision to cut the train line at Wickham.

The ASIC records cover the period from 1989, when Fintraz was ­established, to March, 2014.

They note that Fintraz’s principal place of business was 1-7 Beresford Street in 2009, when the city centre report was prepared.

Since 2010, the company’s ­principal place of business has been the same address listed on the document as being Mr Hawes’ address.

Read the full article at the Maitland Mercury.