Friday, 21 November 2008

If Rees does a Costa on Newcastle rail Labor doomed in Hunter

Greens MP and transport spokesperson Lee Rhiannon has called on Premier Nathan Rees to cut all ties with Michael Costa's plan to cut Newcastle's rail line or risk annihilation for Labor in the Hunter at the next state election.

"Premier Rees needs to show leadership and stand up for the Newcastle rail line. If he leaves the decision up to Newcastle Labor MP Jodi McKay he is using the coward's way to give up on this vital rail service," Ms Rhiannon said.

"Ms McKay has been a mouthpiece for the policies of Mr Costa. She owes her seat to his intervention in the 2007 preselection process and would still be indebted to him.

"The highest swing against Labor in the 2007 state election was in the seat of Newcastle. This was followed by a drop in Labor's vote in the recent local government elections across the Hunter.

"If the Premier allows the Newcastle rail line to be cut he will be demonstrating that like his predecessors, Bob Carr and Morris Iemma, he can not break the stranglehold developers have on his government.

"In an age of climate change and peak oil removing heavy rail is a bankrupt step.

"The Greens will oppose any legislation that comes before parliament to enable this line to be pulled up and campaign to ensure opposition and cross bench MPs to do the same.

"Former Transport Minister Michael Costa was willing to sacrifice Newcastle's public transport to developers eyeing off Newcastle's spectacular waterfront land.

"Premier Rees would be advised to distance himself from the kind of avarice shown by Michael Costa if he wants to shore up support for his new government.

*Retaining Newcastle rail is critical to building a liveable city that is attractive to both residents and tourists.

"Keeping the full line will ensure a clean, reliable and inexpensive form of transport right into the heart of town.

"Axing the rail track will put more cars and buses onto Newcastle*s roads, causing pollution and congestion and reducing quality of life," Ms Rhiannon said.

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