Newcastle rail line

New South Wales transport minister Andrew Constance should note the observation by Victor Hugo, the French novelist, that the worst thing a minister can do is have policies that upset people so much that they protest publicly and loudly about them.

An “Act of God”, or lightning, was a key reason for the recent meltdown of Sydney’s rail network, according to transport minister Andrew Constance. He also claimed that the “dark arts of unionism” — presumably some sort of devilry — inspired rail unionists to vote to strike over pay and rosters on January 29.

Politicians may blame God and the Devil for recent transport chaos, but when the dots are joined between different aspects of the government’s transport policy the reality becomes clearer.

Ten months after trains ceased running into Newcastle station, the New South Wales parliament has passed a controversial bill to close the line at Wickham and rip up the rail line in the CBD.

The NSW Greens, who opposed the legislation along with Labor, the Christian Democrats and the Animal Justice Party, labelled the outcome a “betrayal” of the Hunter community and accused the government of selling out to “developer spivs”.

Supporters of maintaining the rail line into Newcastle are hopeful that their fight against NSW government’s plans to remove the line into the CBD will prevail.

The community has fought for more than a decade against state government attempts to cut the rail into the city centre. Developers have long wanted to exploit the city centre’s prime rail line land as it has never been mined and is considered ideal for multi-story developments. Their mates in the NSW parliament have been only too keen to help out.

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