O’Farrell Government decision to cut Newcastle rail line – Media release 14/12/2012

Save Our Rail condemns the O’Farrell Liberal Government over the decision to cut the Newcastle Rail Line at Wickham.

“This is a mean and spiteful decision, a blow to the community delivered below the belt in cowardly fashion just in time for Christmas”, said Save Our Rail President, Joan Dawson.

Save Our Rail sees this as a preliminary step towards the privatisation of a public asset – the first move in the game of flogging off the land to developers, a game in which the player’s goal is for immediate profit on the way to the ultimate aim which is to satisfy developer greed.

We call on the community to reject this plan and to demand its reversal. We call on all those who value public transport, from politicians, Mayors and Councillors to commuters, unionists, students and surfers to unite to fight against this unfair decision.

This will result in hardship for many, with added time for every journey into Newcastle, with inconvenience and difficulty in having to scramble off the train and onto a bus, with additional traffic chaos and more parking problems. Commuters will hate the delay, surfers will have trouble getting on a bus with their boards, babies will be in distress while their mums battle with the pram and disabled or elderly passengers will not cope.

This cannot revitalise Newcastle and will have the opposite effect.

We issue a challenge to the NSW Government to provide the reason for this ill-conceived decision and to remind them they are breaking the following promises:

  • Restore accountability and transparency to government and give the community a say in decisions affecting their lives ( Barry O’Farrell- introduction “NSW 2021”)
  • Improve customer experience with transport services (Goal 9 “NSW 2021”)
  • Listening to our customers will help determine how we make services more attractive and improve their experience ( Goal 9 “NSW2021.”)
  • Regional Transport Plans developed with local communities and integrated with land use plans so that transport services and infrastructure are provided when and where they are needed- “Draft Long Term Transport Master Plan, 6.”
  • Put the customer first. (Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian)
  • Increase the share of commuter trips made by public transport to and from Newcastle CBD during peak hours to 20% by 2016 (Goal 8 “NSW 2021.”)
  • A promise was made that the use of the Hunter Infrastructure Fund would be determined by the people of the Hunter.

Maitland SOR Branch President Kim Cross said, “Maitland people would like some of the Infrastructure fund to be used for lifts at some stations and for Farley Station to be replaced. They oppose this cut which will affect the lives of many passengers from here”.

Save Our Rail will continue to fight to “IMPROVE NOT REMOVE” and urges community members to let the NSW Government know your transport wishes.

Joan Dawson (President, Save Our Rail NSW Inc);
Kim Cross (President Maitland Branch, Save Our Rail NSW Inc.)
PO Box 212 ISLINGTON 2296; phone: 0408 618 198