The NSW government has pressed ahead with its $460 million plan to allegedly ‘revitalise’ Newcastle’s CBD. They have stopped trains travelling into the city with the final train pulling out of Newcastle station on Christmas night.
The highly unpopular move was carried out less than a fortnight after over 3000 people rallied to protest the truncation of the rail line. Even a parliamentary committee inquiry into controversial planning decisions recommended the plans be postponed.
The Save Our Rail group took the government to the Supreme Court and was granted an injunction on Christmas Eve to stop the tracks from being removed. The government had attempted (but failed) to get around this by transferring the rail assets to the Hunter Development Corporation.
Meanwhile the Awabakal Aboriginal Land Council has lodged a land claim over a two-kilometre stretch of the rail line saying it is no longer being used for a public purpose. Aboriginal groups from across the country plan to rally in Newcastle in February to protest the government’s actions.
Premier Mike Baird has shown his contempt for public opinion and even for court decisions. He is hell bent on pushing ahead with his profit driven development plans, highlighting the need for mass direct action to stop it.
By Robyn Hohl