Broadmeadow community will suffer!

GREENS Lord Mayoral candidate, Cr Ian McKenzie, warned Broadmeadow residents
last night they would be the residential community whose amenity would
suffer most if Lord Mayor John Tate and fellow musketeers, Gary Kennedy and
Glen Thornton succeeded in cutting the rail at Broadmeadow.
“There’s an agenda to cut the rail and has been since 2000 when the Lord
Mayor convened his Transport Reference Group,” Cr McKenzie warned the
Broadmeadow Community Forum.

The three members of Minister Costa’s Lower Hunter Transport Working Group
told the Forum earlier their decision that the rail should be cut followed
the 2002 Newcastle Buses ’slash and burn’ review that saw many Newcastle
bus routes lost, and the Trades Hall Council’s December 2002 job summit
that led to the Hunter Blueprint.

“That is blatantly misleading. Their agenda to cut the rail was the
cornerstone to the Lord Mayor’s Transport Reference Group two years
earlier, and has been around a lot longer than that even,” Cr McKenzie
said.

“These three may say your amenity won’t be affected, but they won’t be
around in ten years time when the Broadmeadow community is suffering the
consequences of their decision.”

Cr McKenzie has also criticised the ill-considered decision to cut train
services to Maitland and Telarah this week.

“Passengers were affected by these cuts without any warning. The
withdrawal of trains from service should have been staggered to have
minimum effect on users. If train travel to Newcastle is made ever more
inconvenient, of course patronage will fall. This is obviously desirous to
those arguing to cut the rail,” Cr McKenzie said.

“It would be more feasible for CityRail to pay overtime and employ casual
ex-train drivers and guards to ride shotgun in the driver’s compartment.
Even cutting half the number of trains would have provided sufficient
drivers to provide the required back up.”

“As well as providing far better service and convenience to Hunter train
travellers, this approach would be more cost-effective than contracting bus
companies in addition to the existing fixed cost of the rail.”

“Driving people away from public transport like this flies in the face of
the state government’s current rhetoric, and against recommendations of all
recent transport studies, that public transport patronage needs to
increase.”

The trains have been withdrawn from service to undergo modifications
recommended as a result of the Waterfall rail disaster.

For further information:
Ian McKenzie
0414 682 001

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