Save Our Rail sets out in new direction – Media Release 04/02/2014

Save Our Rail has begun discussions which could lead to taking a more political position up to the 2015 state election.

This community group has almost exhausted every avenue in pursuit of the best interests of the Hunter community and in defending the most efficient transport provision for the City of Newcastle.  We firmly believe Newcastle will be diminished if the intercity line bringing people to the city is cut.

Reason and logic, rigorous research, production of evidence based transport proposals and the presentation of a petition with 11 ½ thousand signatures followed by a spirited Parliamentary debate around the issue have been ignored by Government.

After a two month delay in being prepared to meet with SOR the Minister for Transport  informed our delegation on 22 January that the decision to truncate the rail line was “not a transport decision, but was to revitalise Newcastle.”

We consider the decision would have the opposite effect to revitalisation and that if the decision to cut transport is not a transport decision it must be a political decision.

SAVE OUR RAIL MUST THEREFORE GO POLITICAL.

The community group has been non party-political for all of its 20 year history.

Independent  transport advisers have pointed to the failures of cities where the heavy rail link has been removed, reports have evaluated the loss of patronage that would result and that the Minister for Transport would preside over a failure in terms of the State Targets.

Even road user organisations have been aware of the traffic chaos that will follow if the commuters take to their cars because of the delay in reaching their destination. Planning has been absent from the process – no definite beginning or end to the proposed replacement light rail, no details of how passengers will interchange. No cost/benefit analysis – just pie in the sky statements about “light rail” as though it will magically transform Newcastle.

SOR is worried about the consequences  – delay and loss of patronage, loss of business as people stop coming to Newcastle, loss of tourism and traffic chaos.  The organisation has begun discussions for a different way forward – how it can get into the political arena.  Flooding the Hunter with candidates could be one option.

Other ideas floated have involved the possibility of a theatrical production – it would have to be a farce, to suit the situation of course.  And it would feature politicians who have proved they are candidates for political satire.

There’s a song that comes to mind – “Bump me into Parliament.” Why not?

As the largest community group concerned with transport Save Our Rail leaders requested a meeting with the Premier at the coming Community Cabinet Meeting.

Of course that is being denied to us, we have been officially refused.  This adds insult to injury because all letters to the premier on this subject are being shunted on to Gladys Berejiklian. This is the Premier who in opposition wore a Save Our Rail badge into Parliament and rode the rails to Maitland with SOR members.

WATCH THIS SPACE AND HANG ONTO YOUR HATS –THE TRAIN RIDE IS LIKELY TO BE MORE INTERESTING WHEN IT BUMPS US INTO PARLIAMENT.

For further information or comment please contact:-
Joan Dawson
President Save Our Rail NSW Inc.
Mobile 0408 618 198