Gladys Berejiklian Minister for the Hunter – Media Release 26/04/2014

Save Our Rail would like to welcome Gladys Berejiklian as Minister for the Hunter and would again like to meet with her regarding transport for the whole Hunter Region.

On hearing the remarks made by the Minister on ABC radio we applaud  her  praise for Barry O’Farrell in resigning under the circumstances and would like to remind all Cabinet members of their responsibilities in regard to principles and their dealings with lobbyists.

When Garth Russell told Ms Berejiklian that Save Our Rail would like to meet with her she indicated that SOR had not wanted to meet her at the Cabinet Meeting in Maitland.

We want to make it clear that Gladys in her position as Minister for Transport, did in fact meet with a delegation from Save Our Rail at the Cabinet Meeting on 10th February 2014 as we had requested, and that we appreciate her responding letter of 13th March.

This was only the second time SOR had achieved a meeting with this Minister since her election so we were pleased to be able to present her with evidence of a contrary view to the one she believed was prevailing in this region. We urge Ms Berejiklian to become more available if she is to be an effective Minister for the Hunter.

We assured Ms Berejiklian that the majority of the people do not support the truncation of the Newcastle Rail Line and that it is a gross waste of public money to do so and that there will be electoral consequences if this goes ahead . We remind all of the new Cabinet of Mr Baird’s support for ICAC and the risks of being corrupted by the approaches of powerful lobby groups urging development on public land in Newcastle.

There are many transport needs in the Hunter which are not being addressed while funding from the Hunter Infrastructure & Investment Fund ($60 million) and a further $300m from the proposed port sale is being allocated to a project that is not needed or wanted.

It is surely wasteful to cut a line that has recently had millions of dollars spent on it, including station & line  improvements of $18 ½ m by the Iemma Government, many more millions on concrete sleepers, and $48milion on signalling  since the election of the O’Farrell Government.

Save Our Rail is very concerned that Ms Berejiklian intends to begin truncation of the rail line by December and that rail passengers will be put onto buses. Such a policy has not been put to the electorate and goes against the wishes of the majority in the Hunter community, as indicated by the 11 ½ thousand signature petition presented to Parliament and the many polls on the issue.

SOR urges the new Minister for the Hunter to listen to the people!

The Save Our Rail findings and proposals need to be considered before any cuts are made to the intercity rail line which connects Newcastle with Sydney and the rest of the state. We are not a lobby group, mired in corruption but earnest citizens volunteering our time to represent the community.

This line, electrified 30 years ago in June, was one of Neville Wrann’s   legacies and is an asset  to Newcastle and the Hunter Region.

The community will rise up in protest if it is touched. 

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