Labor rail cut would kill Beaumont St, say Greens

Greens candidates will today distribute pamphlets to Beaumont St shoppers and businesses alerting them to the threat to the street’s commercial vitality in Labor’s plan to cut the Newcastle rail line at Wickham.

The Greens pamphlets (see following) highlight the assertion in the Labor government’s plan to cut the rail line at Wickham  – advocated by the Labor Member for Newcastle Jodi McKay – that the proposal would require the closure of the Beaumont St level crossing.

“Labor’s proposal will kill Beaumont St’s commercial vitality, and threatens businesses, workers and Beaumont St customers,” The Greens candidate for Newcastle, John Sutton, said.

The pamphlet points out that Beaumont St traders, workers and customers depend on the north-south connection provided by the level crossing across the rail line.

“Severing Beaumont Street on either side of Hamilton Station would cut a vital artery that feeds the commercial heart of Beaumont Street,” the pamphlet says.

“The Labor Member for Newcastle, Jodi McKay, has been silent on this aspect of her government’s plan, for which she has been the key advocate,” Mr Sutton said.

“Ms McKay has recently been very busy trying to publicly distance herself from the toxic government that she has been part of, but she can’t blame this one on anyone else.

“She has championed the push by local developers to rip up the Newcastle rail line, and the study that she initiated shows that cutting the Beaumont St level crossing is an inevitable consequence of her proposal,” Mr Sutton said.

The pamphlet also points out that both the Liberals and the major independent candidate, John Tate, have also supported cutting the Newcastle rail line.

Greens NSW MLC and lead Upper House candidate David Shoebridge said, “In contrast, The Greens have consistently advocated a rejuvenated Newcastle rail line as part of a rail-based revitalisation strategy for the city.

“What’s happening at Beaumont Street is an excellent local example of the NSW government’s wrong-headed policy on public transport,” Mr Shoebridge said.

“NSW Labor has missed the opportunity to maintain and improve Newcastle rail services, caving in, as it so often does, to vested interests,” Mr Shoebridge said.

Note: Mr Shoebridge will also speak on public transport at the opening of The Greens Newcastle campaign office at 2pm at 403 Hunter St (Hunter St entrance to Civic Arcade).

For further information or comment, please contact John Sutton (Greens candidate for Newcastle), on 4969 2668 or 0411 154 004, or David Shoebridge (Greens NSW MLC) on 0432 332 104.

John Sutton’s election campaign blog is at: http://newcastle2011.blogspot.com

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