Inquiry report to recommend rail truncation delay

A PARLIAMENTARY inquiry into planning decisions in Newcastle is set to issue an interim report recommending that the Boxing Day truncation of the city’s rail line be put off because of a flawed case for the project, including the lack of a cost benefit analysis, reports the Newcastle Herald.

If the government does proceed, then it must release advice to substantiate its assurances it doesn’t need an Act of Parliament to remove the heavy rail, and it must ensure light rail is installed immediately and runs down the existing rail corridor, the inquiry, chaired by Christian Democrats MP Reverend Fred Nile, is understood to have concluded.

The report will be issued on Thursday morning after being tabled to State Parliament, setting out over more than 100 pages the parliamentary committee’s interim findings in relation to the government’s transport changes, in order to get in ahead of the looming December 26 start of works.

“A railway line is closed if the land concerned is sold or otherwise disposed of or the railway tracks and other works concerned are removed,” the [Transport Administration Act] says.

Save Our Rail president Joan Dawson wrote to Transport minister Gladys Berejiklian last week raising the issue.

The group is seeking advice as to whether a legal challenge can be mounted given the government doesn’t have Parliament’s endorsement, although a meeting scheduled for Monday with a lawyer was cancelled due to office evacuations associated with the siege in Sydney.

Read the full article at the Newcastle Herald.