Wednesday 15 October 2008
Ms LEE RHIANNON: An article in the Newcastle Herald on Monday this week about the heavy rail service in Newcastle states, "Community input on removing the rail line will be sought." Could you inform the Committee what are the Government's plans for Newcastle ?
Mr DAVID CAMPBELL: Could I ask who that quote is from?
Ms LEE RHIANNON: It is not actually a quote; it is in the body of the article. The article is by Jacqui Jones. It is not attributed to the Government-I certainly acknowledge that-but it is stated.
Mr DAVID CAMPBELL: We are talking about the rail line into the central business district [CBD] of Newcastle ?
Ms LEE RHIANNON: Yes, right into Newcastle .
Mr DAVID CAMPBELL: The Government has looked at this issue over a long period with the local community. It has come to a position supporting the community's view that the heavy rail line should remain. There are some issues around common activity between the CBD and what I would call the honeysuckle precinct. There is some continuing work around that. I am aware that General Property Trust [GPT] is now saying that it is not going to proceed with a significant redevelopment in Newcastle if the rail line remains. Notwithstanding that statement from GPT, as far as I am concerned the Government's position remains that we have worked with the community and we have come to a landing that says the heavy rail should remain. That is our adopted position. I see no reason why we should change that, why we would go into another major review of that position. But there needs to be continuing work about those common activity issues between the different parts of Newcastle across that run.
Ms LEE RHIANNON: In summary, you are saying that you are totally ruling out removing the rail line; it is just about how we improve moving from one side of the track to the other without removing the track?
Mr DAVID CAMPBELL: That is the Government's position and I do not see any reason to change it.