Premier Mike Baird refused to rule out development of the Newcastle rail corridor after the truncation of the line at Wickham

The Maitland Mercury reports that Premier Mike Baird has refused to rule out the possible development of the Newcastle rail corridor after the train line is removed.

Opposition spokeswoman for the Hunter Sonia Hornery asked Mr Baird to postpone the rail cut until after the election and guarantee that the rail corridor would not be handed to property developers.

The Premier replied with a single word: “No.”

The Mercury contacted the Premier’s office for comment, but a spokesman for Mr Baird instead sent back the official Hansard transcripts and referred all further questions to the Planning Minister Pru Goward’s office.

Earlier in Parliament, Mr Baird appeared to avoid direct questions from opposition leader John Robertson about the fate of rail corridor land.

Mr Robertson asked the Premier three times during the exchange whether he could rule out the possibility that the land would be leased or sold.

Ms Hornery later called on the government to wait for the select parliamentary committee into planning decisions in the Hunter to release its findings before starting work to cut the line.

“At a time when the people of the Hunter are looking to have their faith in politicians restored, the Premier needs to show that people can have faith that the decisions being made are in the best interests of the people, not property developers,” she said.

Read the full article at the Maitland Mercury.