NSW Government refuses to release Newcastle rail cost benefit papers

Greens NSW MP and Transport spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC, has questioned what is the Government hiding after it appears to be hiding documents relating to the truncation of the Newcastle Rail line. The NSW Parliament last month passed Dr Faruqi’s motion demanding the release of a range of papers, the vast majority of which weren’t revealed under cabinet in confidence in claims. These documents included cost benefit analysis and scoping studies of the impact of the rail closure. Dr Faruqi has today placed a new motion demanding the release of these papers.

Dr Faruqi said:

“My original motion in Parliament demanded the release of a range of specifically named documents related to the truncation of the Newcastle Rail Line and its impacts – these documents have not been released despite overwhelming public interest in the impact the closure will have on transport in Newcastle.

“It appears that the overwhelming majority of the documents requested by the parliament are being withheld as ‘cabinet in confidence’. It beggars belief that the Government does not think the public should see the studies they are relying on to truncate the much-needed Newcastle rail line.

“There also appears to be no cost benefit analysis included, meaning either there isn’t one, or the Government does not want anyone to see it.

“That is why I have today placed another motion demanding the Government release these key papers and explain why it is claiming cabinet-in-confidence privilege on documents that the public have a right to see.

“The Government’s failure to comply with this motion will be unacceptable interference in the work of the parliament as well as the public’s right to know.

“All of this secrecy and lack of transparency begs the question: what is the Government hiding?

“The fact that the Government appears to be not fully complying with the call for papers shows the lengths this Government will go to avoid transparency,

“Secrecy has become a pattern with this Government, and we are seeing this from the Newcastle line, to the North West Rail Link to WestConnex to treat the public with contempt by hiding any information about how and why they are making these decisions”Dr Faruqi concluded.

(Link to Mehreen Faruqi’s original media release here).