Bus and Tram Express
Bus and Tram Express

Government pushes on with light rail despite lack of consultation

Jan 22, 2016News

TfNSW_NLR_Two options planWith no community consultation, the NSW Government has moved forward with their plans to put the proposed Newcastle light rail construction out to tender.

In a move condemned by the Rail, Tram and Bus Union, the government says they will not start consulting with the community for ‘a few months’.

RTBU Assistant Branch Secretary Dave Woollams said the Baird Government didn’t care about what Hunter residents thought.

“It is the height of arrogance to not start consulting until all the big decisions have already been made,” Mr Woollams said.

“By the time Mike Baird and Andrew Constance get around to talking to locals, they will have already created the shortlist of companies for the build, who will all have their own plans for what will happen to Newcastle.”

Mr Woollams said this is just how the Baird Liberal Government did business.

“As a punishment for the region turning their back on the Liberals at the last election, Mike Baird is treating the Hunter like a testing ground for bad ideas,” Mr Woollams said.

“First they cut the heavy rail line out of the heart of Newcastle without listening to what the community wanted.

“Then they announced light rail to replace the heavy rail. Only after announcing the proposal did they realise that no private company wanted to buy a light rail system in Newcastle.

“To sweeten that deal for business, the government announced that they would make it a package deal and sell off Newcastle Buses too, putting 350 jobs under threat, along with cuts to services and price hikes.”

The government’s lack of consultation will continue to create uncertainty for Newcastle.

“The next big cloud hanging over Newcastle is the government trying to sell off the public bus service some time this year. Again with no consultation, and all for the benefit of their mates in the business community, not thinking about the workers or passengers.”