Labor candidate proposes to cut rail service


In the first real policy statement of her election campaign, Jodi McKay, the NSW ALP's head office-imposed candidate for the state seat of Newcastle, told the Property Council on November 17 that she favoured cutting Newcastle's heavy rail service.

In a media statement issued the same day, Michael Osborne, the Greens candidate for Newcastle in next March's state election, said that people who attended the Property Council event had verified McKay's statement on the issue.

"McKay has now been outed on the rail line, and it's time for her to fess up to the ordinary people of Newcastle that she's siding with the developers who want to cut our present rail service", Osborne said.

"She can't keep something as important as this between her and the developers, and she can't expect Newcastle voters to be gullible enough to believe that it's just a coincidence that her views on the rail line coincide exactly with the views of the Sydney-based Labor powerbrokers who engineered her preselection."

McKay, a former commercial TV newsreader turned "business consultant", told the Newcastle media that she had been seriously considering joining the Liberal Party but decided to join the ALP on August 31, after a discussion with Labor Premier Morris Iemma. The next day, Iemma announced that she would be the local ALP candidate.

Osborne, a Newcastle City councillor, said McKay's stand on the Sydney-Newcastle rail link was "further testimony to how much she is captive to Sydney's right-wing Labor powerbrokers and developers, who have been eying off the rail land since the 1980s

"McKay is trying to hide behind the 'light rail gambit' - a tired and cynical attempt to greenwash the proposal to cut the rail line by arguing that it can be replaced by light rail

"The Greens strongly support light rail, but not where it simply replaces existing public transport infrastructure to satisfy developers."