Mr Baird stop this madness – Media Release 06/05/2014

Premier Baird has come into office idealistically declaring good intentions and a squeaky clean Cabinet. Sadly some of his team have proved to be tarnished. Already grot has been unearthed and no doubt there will be much more before the ICAC is finished digging.

Mr Baird some of the corruption has been reaching into the Hunter and there is no doubt that there is much more to be concerned about in this region.

One only has to look at the long term plotting and the tangled web of vested interest and interference that has gone into the decision to truncate the Newcastle Rail Line. To date there has been no proof of any advantage to the revitalisation of Newcastle in removing a valuable piece of public infrastructure, which carries an estimated 20,000 passengers per week into the heart of Newcastle CBD.

Not one of the projects outlined in the Newcastle Urban Renewal Strategy (NURS) will fail if the rail is retained. In fact GIPA investigations reveal that most of the document was produced with the intention of the rail being intact. Some of the projects in fact need the mass transit provision for their success.

Who or what intervened to cause the change of direction?

Why would such a decision be made, when throughout the world cities are putting in rail?

The claim that “light rail”, running one block from the existing line will somehow work miracles in the city is as ridiculous as believing that a fairy godmother could wave magic wand over Hunter Street and it will come to life.

The so-called “heavy rail” system of electric and diesel trains is the only way the intercity connections can be maintained at their current level. This is the way people can be brought to the city, as tourists, workers and customers. Without them the city will die.

Light rail can serve a worthwhile purpose within a city, but does not have the capability for the long haul. Save Our Rail has put forward proposals for light rail as an adjunct to the existing rail lines, which could improve transport within Newcastle.

These have been ignored because someone requires the rail line to be closed and you do not need to be a genius to work out why, when it sits on rare non-undermined land. Newcastle is extensively undermined and development limited. Closing the rail is a developer dream!

To truncate the rail line and Wickham and install light rail instead, is a huge waste of public money and this waste should be put under the spotlight along with other crooked deals. It destroys an asset and proposes a less efficient alternative.

This plan will take out a public utility and allow the land it occupies to be developed by private interests. Mr Premier this surely is questionable.

Please put this madness on hold until all questions of probity have been answered and any local MP’s cleared of improper influence.

Mr Premier keep your worthy promises of integrity and honesty by intervening and ensuring correct planning with value for money is instituted. There are places in the Hunter that need that funding for real transport needs.

Don’t take dodgy advice. Don’t let the sludge splash on you!

Joan Dawson
President Save Our Rail NSW Inc
Mobile 0408 618 198