A BILL to authorise the closure of Newcastle’s rail line could pass NSW Parliament next week, with Shooters and Fishers Party MPs prepared to deliver the government crucial votes to get the legislation through the upper house, reports the Newcastle Herald.
Robert Brown and Robert Borsak have denied any deal has been struck with the Baird government in exchange for their support, which will enable the government to proceed with plans to rip out the rail tracks, install light rail on part of the corridor and potentially develop the rest.
The Shooters MPs said on Wednesday they endorse the plans to rejuvenate the city “provided the government gets its arse into gear and provides [the] high-class light rail system for Newcastle they promised”.
But it is the backing of either the Christian Democratic Party MPs, Fred Nile and Paul Green, or the Shooters, that the government needs to get the bill through the upper house. Mr Green said the CDP remained opposed to the rail’s removal.
Greens MP David Shoebridge said the Shooters MPs’ support would be a “deep betrayal” of their party’s large base in the Hunter Valley, who were affected by the loss of trains to Newcastle station.
The question for everyone else was “what’s the pay off . . . what’s the Baird government committed to buy these votes?” he said.
Save Our Rail president Joan Dawson claimed the legislation would “open the door for the permanent destruction of public infrastructure and the seizing of public spaces throughout NSW”.
Labor transport spokesman Ryan Park said Hunter voters had made it clear that “the bulk of people supported keeping the rail”.