The Greens candidate for the Federal seat of Newcastle, Dr John Mackenzie, today called on newly endorsed federal Liberal candidates in the Hunter to publicly support the regional community’s concerns about the state Coalition government’s unfolding Newcastle light rail fiasco.
“If local Coalition candidates were serious about wanting to represent the interests of the Hunter community, they’d be lobbying their state Coalition colleagues to bring the Newcastle light rail project back on track, to at least comply with Federal government standards for infrastructure projects,” Dr Mackenzie said.
“For many in the Hunter, this will be a key test of whether these candidates are serious about standing up for the community, or are really just paper candidates making up the numbers.”
Dr Mackenzie, who attended this week’s packed community forum on the future of the Newcastle rail corridor, said speakers at the forum had highlighted the project’s non-compliance with relevant Federal infrastructure project guidelines, and the continued veil of secrecy maintained by the state Coalition government on key project documents.
“Even a cursory look at relevant Federal government guidelines exposes the woeful deficiencies of the state government’s current Review of Environmental Factors (REF) for the Newcastle Light Rail project,” he said.
“No wonder this project was refused Federal funding a number of years ago, and that the current state Coalition government has been too embarrassed to apply again,” Dr Mackenzie said.
“It’s not good enough for local Coalition candidates to stay silent and toe the party line on this, given the history of this project, and the continued secrecy and incompetence of the state Coalition’s mismanagement of it,” Dr Mackenzie said.
Dr Mackenzie said that Greens state MPs would be pursuing these matters on behalf of the community.