SOR e-News: May 2014 Extra

Issue no. 15 May 2014 Extra | Joan Dawson, President

Re One Term Tim

This morning I was interviewed on ABC by Jill Emberson. My interview was based around the Press Conference called by Tim Owen with much fanfare over the weekend and most people thinking he would be resigning because of ICAC implicating him in the Liberal Party slush fund allegations. He did not resign.

I said in the interview that since Tim Owen has stated it is “highly likely” there were irregularities in the funding of his election campaign and that he claims to be an honest person he should now do the honourable thing and resign. After all the former Premier of NSW resigned over a bottle of wine and there is an amount of $20,000 unaccounted for.

I asked if Newcastle should be represented for the next 10 months by a “lame duck.”

With this in mind and the effects of what happens to Newcastle being relevant to the Hunter Region I suggest that people who support our campaign of keeping the rail line should consider ways to put pressure on the Premier and the Liberal Party to encourage Mr Owen to allow someone else to take over, since he is clearly under a cloud.

This could be in the form of writing letters to editors & Mr Baird / tweets / facebook etc highlighting what Tim has achieved in 3 years for this region. More precisely what he has NOT achieved. Perhaps some reminders and comparisons would be helpful.

Like her or not, Jodi McKay did oversee some big ticket items for Newcastle and the region as follows:

  • Tourle Street Bridge replacement $47million
  • Possession of the old Newcastle post office
  • Possession of Empire Hotel site
  • Allocation of $4 million for Uni campus site
  • Temporary Cruise terminal $2.5million
  • Dual carriageway Karuah to Bulahdelah $300 million
  • Third Hunter River crossing Maitland $65 million
  • Mater Hospital redevelopment $157 million
  • Western grandstand Energy Australia Stadium $14.7 million
  • Wickham School to Uni for student accommodation $1.6 million

By comparison what can you attribute to Tim Owen other than to support developers in their ambitions to destroy the rail line into Newcastle?

He has:

  • Failed to progress the re-use of the post office
  • Failed to listen to the community regarding transport needs
  • Failed to have lifts installed at Waratah and similar stations
  • Produced a dud plan to run trams down Hunter Street
  • Failed to provide a reason for a Wickham Interchange
  • Failed to produce even preliminary planning for Wickham truncation
  • Failed to account for $20,000 “under the table” funding
  • While he was MP, re Newcastle’s need for people to revitalise:-
    • Residents were offered money to MOVE OUT of Newcastle. Later increased!
    • Government offices moved out of Newcastle CBD – some to Charlestown, some Mayfield.
    • The question of a plan to assist developers with grouting of old coal mines – need for a strategy outlined, but no action.

What has Tim Owen done for you? Developers, have you got a bang for your buck?

Get busy and write to Premier Baird to ask why he is still your MP. Put some blogs on Herald site, write letters to editors.


  • Tomorrow night Wed 14th May – New Institute meeting – need people to go to put the view that intercity trains are important for Newcastle and the region.
  • Tomorrow night Wed 14th May. 7.00p.m. Maitland Branch SOR, St Peter’s Hall.

Regards from Joan and the SOR Team.