ICAC shadow hovers over Newcastle – Media Release 21/05/2014

When the ICAC delivers its findings they will land with a thud, forcing out a surge of muck that will envelop those involved in the corrupt conduct that is creating a force of destruction aimed at the heart of Newcastle.

Already the ICAC carpet has been lifted at one corner, revealing a few grubs, now trying to escape its powerful gaze, but more is to come.

Save Our Rail and other community groups have tried to warn politicians of the folly of only listening to the Big End of Town. A Web of Intrigue has been woven so tightly it will take months to unravel. This web has used power and influence to drive decisions that are designed to create wealth for a few at the expense of many.

We urge Premier Baird to intervene now before more actions are taken towards:

A)  The truncation of the Newcastle Rail Line

B)  The lifting of height restrictions in inner Newcastle

“These decisions are resulting from corrupt actions,” states Joan Dawson, Save Our Rail president.

So far Premier Mike Baird, along with Transport Minister/Minister for Hunter Gladys Berejiklian and Mnister for Planning, Pru Goward have escaped mention in the ICAC revelations, but watch this space!

Questions arise over the sale of the Port of Newcastle. The original estimate of its value? The final price? How can a discrepancy of $1 Billion be justified? Mr Baird you were there. Why was the price estimate so low?

Improper allocation of public money is alleged. As former Treasurer, now Premier, Mr Baird needs to answer how a fund can be manipulated to assist developer aims while other urgent regional needs are ignored.

He also needs to “discover” where electoral funding has magically appeared and to where it was directed as there seems to be a large paper bag of it unaccounted for.

Ms Berejiklian must be able to answer questions re the sudden change in the Newcastle Urban Renewal Strategy (NURS) – the rail line, which she should be protecting, was planned to remain intact, then there’s a gap in documentation and suddenly it was to be cut. Why? Who wielded such powerful influence? Where was due process?

Newcastle City Council has long protected the city’s character through implementing height restrictions.

Now we see the major developer in bed with the Government, who has become a partner in a proposal as well as being the assessment authority. They have joined forces to change the rules for a monstrous development of towers and massive structures that will forever destroy the very thing that makes Newcastle attractive, its unique heritage value.

For its future prospects Newcastle needs its current provision of mass transport direct to Newcastle Station and it will be a sad day if ugly towers are allowed to be superimposed onto a city which has priceless heritage value. Both these assets cannot be restored once they are lost.

Save Our Rail says:

“Mr Baird, Ms Berejiklian and Ms Goward take heed.”

“If you want to keep your shoes clean halt the dodgy deals, stop the destruction of existing infrastructure, stop the planning changes that will forever alter Newcastle and step away from the sludge or some of it will splash onto you.”

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