Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Tate says: retain the train line

Newcastle Greens
7 July 2009

Newcastle Greens today welcomed a proposal from Newcastle’s Lord Mayor John Tate to retain the rail line to Newcastle station whilst developing both a transport interchange and a university CBD campus.

Clr Tate made the proposal at last night’s meeting of the Throsby Forum, saying that he was tired of the rail line debate, and suggested that trains could continue running through to Newcastle station while other revitalisation projects, including a city campus and transport interchange, were started.

Clr Tate’s proposal came after a lively question and answer session at the Throsby forum between residents and the CEO of the Hunter Development Corporation (HDC), Craig Norman.
“I welcome the Lord Mayor’s willingness to propose an option that retains the rail line and is capable of gaining broad community support,” Clr Osborne said.

“The Greens have long advocated the idea of a city campus, and the development of an integrated transport strategy for the city based on transit-oriented development, that served environmental, social and economic needs, and we believe that the proposal now being put forward by the Lord Mayor’s is worthy of consideration.

“The current HDC approach – which advocates cutting the Newcastle rail line - is not based on these principles or needs, and will not gain the broad community support that the option outlined by the Lord Mayor last night is capable of achieving. Such an option would also be a much safer bet in the city’s bid for federal government infrastructure funding, which the current HDC approach puts at risk,” Clr Osborne said.

“If the federal government’s claims that it is committed to transit oriented development and expansion of transport infrastructure are genuine, then it is not going to fund a proposal to cut a rail line, and it would be counterproductive to take such a proposal to them,” Clr Osborne said.

“The Lord Mayor’s comments last night are the most positive sign yet that Newcastle might be able to take a unified case to the federal government that has a real chance of attracting federal funding for revitalising the city.

“The Greens strongly agree with that part of the HDC report that identifies the development of a university CBD campus as the key project that could stimulate revitalisation of the city.

“From his comments last night, the Lord Mayor also appears to appreciate the role a city campus could play in revitalising the CBD. A strong, unified push by the city for federal funding for such project would tick all the right boxes,” Clr Osborne said.

“The Greens would also support the development of a transport interchange that arise out of a professionally and independently conducted integrated transport strategy, rather than by a developer-driven agenda to cut the rail line. I urge Clr Tate to advocate the proposal he made last night within the HDC (on which he is a Director) and within Newcastle Council,” Clr Osborne said.

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