SOR demands answers and a new broom – Media Release 12/05/2014

Save Our Rail has moved to seek answers from the Premier, Mike Baird, as to the full extent of funding irregularities at the last election and their consequences.

“Mr Owen’s damning statement today, that he now realised it was “highly likely” there had been illegal donations to his election campaign is an indication that he should have stepped aside immediately,” said SOR President, Joan Dawson. “That would have been the honourable thing to do.”

This comes following revelations of the dirty tricks employed by developer Nathan Tinkler to get rid of ALP MP, Jodi McKay when she refused his bribe and refused to do his bidding.

“Who is running this state and who is really behind decisions, clearly against the majority opinion and causing disadvantage to the Hunter community?” asks Ms Dawson.

These include:

  • The decision to truncate the Newcastle Rail Line
  • Improper use of public funding (the Hunter Infrastructure and Investment Fund) for the purpose of removing the rail into Newcastle.
  • Late changes in the Newcastle Urban Renewal Strategy, (NURS) originally planned with the rail line intact.
  • Ignoring the submissions to the NURS – with 70% favourable to retention of the rail
  • The decision to sell the Port of Newcastle without community consultation.
  • The decision to allocate a large amount of the Port proceeds to the rail removal.
  • Consistent poll results of about 70% favouring rail retention over the past decade.
  • Advisory reports to NSW Government containing blatant misinformation and misrepresentation, including those prepared by Hunter Development Corporation and other local developer oriented groups.
  • Complete disregard of proposals which provided alternatives to the rail truncation by various individuals and community groups, including Save Our Rail.
  • Public Meeting for Long Term Transport planning with majority indication of retention of Newcastle Rail as a priority incorrectly recorded.
  • Large public meeting where people were ruled out of order if they spoke in favour of rail retention. One woman had the microphone turned off in mid-sentence.
  • The presentation by SOR to Parliament of a petition with over 11,000 signatures, with a request for a Parliamentary Inquiry ignored by the NSW Government.
  • Changes to height rules to allow huge inappropriate towers to dominate Newcastle.
  • The unhealthy relationship of a developer, GPT in partnership with the NSW Government (Urban Growth) which has carriage of assessment decisions of a joint proposal. (The Vampire in charge of the Blood Bank!)
  • Not one of the projects for Newcastle Renewal needs the rail line cut, in order to proceed. In fact existing mass transport provision will advantage the University campus, the Court House and indeed the future of the city.

It is becoming very obvious that developer interests have been involved in the funding of the 2011 elections and have driven decisions being made by the NSW Government, especially related to Newcastle Renewal.

Mr Owen who himself has misled Parliament declares he will finish his term as Newcastle MP and that he will continue with the inappropriate activities he has pushed which will adversely affect Hunter communities.

New Premier Mike Baird, who declared he will re-establish trust in Government needs a great big new broom to sweep it clean beginning with eliminating any MP having questions over their integrity.

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