THE Hunter Development Corporation is expected to take possession of Newcastle’s rail corridor in January, despite the Supreme Court rejecting the government’s argument that it does not need Parliament’s approval to truncate the rail if it transfers the land from one agency to another, reports the Newcastle Herald.
However, [Justice Michael Adams] rejected on Christmas Eve the government’s case that it did not need an Act of Parliament to approve the full removal of the rail, following a legal challenge from group Save Our Rail.
Under the Transport Administration Act, a ‘‘rail infrastructure owner’’ needs Parliament’s approval to close a line.
The government had aimed to get around the requirement by instructing HDC to “compulsorily acquire” the land, arguing only RailCorp was technically a “rail infrastructure owner” so only it would need Parliament’s backing.
But Justice Adams rejected that, finding instead that the requirement would apply to both agencies.
HDC, which was a party to the proceedings, is expected to file with the Court of Appeal by January 2.
The government has also quietly released over Christmas a residual rail corridor management plan, which sets out that a number of entries to Newcastle, Civic and the existing Wickham station buildings will need to be fenced off or boarded up for security.