Revelations today in Fairfax newspapers (link: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/220-million-per-kilometre-sydney-to-newcastle-rail-line-rejig-to-burn-cash-20170920-gyld4t.html) show that the NSW Government made the decision to close the last section of the Newcastle rail line prior to any costing or assessment of the light rail replacement.

Fairfax reports that the cabinet-in-confidence report, prepared after the decision to close the line, refers to the decision as a “sunk cost” estimated at about $200 million.

RTBU Tram and Bus Divisional Secretary, Chris Preston said this is proof the decision making around the line closure and light rail introduction wasn’t made to benefit commuters and was a disgraceful use of public funds. 

“We said all along that the cost were over the top. This proves that to be true,” Mr Preston said.

“The decision making around the whole process reeks of shonky decision making. Even after the rail line was torn up, the government could have introduced bendy buses that were configured like trams. This could have been done at a fraction of cost and the buses then could have been used elsewhere if needed.

“The expensive and disruptive construction of the light rail could have been avoided but unfortunately the Transport Minister had other ideas. And those ideas have cost taxpayers millions and given workers and commuters plenty of headaches.

“This was never about improving transport for commuters – this was about lining the pockets of some of the government’s mates.

“The NSW Government has shown complete disregard for the people of Newcastle time and again when it comes to public transport.”

 

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