Newcastle Rail Line: Announcements

 
  jdennis Junior Train Controller

There were a few contenders last week for contributors in this thread to win the coveted "Tin Foil Hat Of The Week Award",
Divine3801 smashes all the opposition with this gem.
tezza
Personally I would have voted for this one:

[QUOTE=tezza]You need to stop this petty school yard whinging and start focusing on the real issues such as the abuse of union fees being embezzled by a member of the Trades Union Council to bankroll her own community group Save our Rail, or the link between the Newcastle Trades Hall Council, Save our Rail, Labor, Greens and Awabakal Land Council.Everyone in Newcastle knows this is going on but you hear not a peep from the Newcastle Herald, it is still stuck with its 30 year love affair with Labor and is too afraid to report on the benefits of change for the city.[/QUOTE]

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  PKBeam Locomotive Driver

Location: Somewhere in NSW
Fred Nile does some investigating.
http://www.maitlandmercury.com.au/story/2918734/newcastle-rail-nile-committee-findings-released/
[spoiler=
Parliamentary committee investigating Hunter planning decisions releases its findings on the Newcastle heavy rail truncation]Newcastle’s heavy rail services should be immediately reinstated and all planning decisions about land in city should be handed to Newcastle City Council, a parliamentary committee has recommended.
The upper house inquiry into Newcastle planning decisions released its final report on Tuesday after five months of investigations and public hearings.
The inquiry has mostly focused on the state government’s decision to cut the heavy rail line into Newcastle CBD and establish a light rail network and major transport interchange.
The multi-party committee released two findings and nine recommendations as a result of the inquiry.
It found that Hunter Development Corporation general manager Bob Hawes “had a significant and ongoing conflict of interest in being a landowner at Wickham and having a managerial role in the NSW Government’s decision to truncate the Newcastle rail line at Wickham, a decision from which Mr Hawes stands to financially benefit”.
The second finding noted that the HDC board “Failed to adequately address the conflict of interest of Mr Robert Hawes, and this failure has damaged public confidence in the integrity of the Hunter Development Corporation and public decision making in Newcastle and the broader Hunter Region”.
The Independent Commission Against Corruption said late last month that it would not investigate Mr Hawes' role in the rail decision.
The Nile report did not accuse Mr Hawes or any MPs of corruption.
The report recommended that Newcastle City Council should take over from the state government as the planning authority for land in Newcastle city, including land owned or managed by HDC.
[center][/center]
It also recommended that the government immediately reinstate infrastructure that has recently been removed from the rail corridor as well as the heavy rail service into the CBD.[/spoiler]
http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/2915946/newcastle-inquiry-developers-and-mps-have-questions-to-answer-says-nile/?cs=12

[spoiler=
Newcastle inquiry: Developers and MPs have questions to answer, says Nile[size=2]][/size][color=#333333][size=3][font=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Developers and disgraced former politicians will have new "questions to answer" following a parliamentary inquiry into Newcastle's planning process, committee chair Fred Nile has said.[/font][/size][/color]
[color=#333333][size=3][font=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]In particular, the inquiry has examined a government decision to truncate Newcastle's heavy rail system and construct a new light rail line through Hunter Street, the main thoroughfare.[/font][/size][/color]
[color=#333333][size=3][font=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]A confidential cabinet minute revealed the government rejected advice from Transport for NSW that the light rail should run in the former heavy rail corridor. The Hunter Street option could cost $100 million more and deliver a slower service, but would give more opportunity to property developers.[/font][/size][/color]
[color=#333333][size=3][font=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Mr Nile told Fairfax Media the report, to be tabled on Tuesday, will allege questionable conduct by a number of people, including former Newcastle mayor Jeff McCloy and former Liberal MPs Tim Owen and Andrew Cornwell. All three resigned last year following an investigation by the Independent Commission Against Corruption into banned political donations from property developers. No sitting Liberal MPs were implicated, Mr Nile said.[/font][/size][/color]
[color=#333333][size=3][font=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]The report will also question the role of UrbanGrowth NSW, the state-owned corporation responsible for major urban redevelopment.[/font][/size][/color]
[color=#333333][size=3][font=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]"One of its top directors we found had bought property [from] which he would benefit financially from the changes to the railway line," Mr Nile said.[/font][/size][/color]
[color=#333333][size=3][font=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]"He says he disclosed that. I don't think the fact he disclosed it excuses you, in my opinion, he should have sold it."[/font][/size][/color]
[color=#333333][size=3][font=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif][center][/center][/font][/size][/color]
[color=#333333][size=3][font=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]The report will stop short of recommending the matter be referred to ICAC, but Mr Nile said he expected the anti-corruption body to take notice of the findings regardless.[/font][/size][/color]
[color=#333333][size=3][font=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]The major recommendations will instead centre around streamlining the planning process and handing back control to Newcastle City Council, which Mr Nile said had been "pushed aside". It will also recommend the heavy rail line be restored.[/font][/size][/color]
[color=#333333][size=3][font=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]"The main thing we've uncovered is this tangled web of having a big private company and then two or three government-sponsored bodies that are working in this area," Mr Nile said. "We think it should all be separated. It's too easy to be influenced."[/font][/size][/color]
[color=#333333][size=3][font=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]In a further headache for Premier Mike Baird at the start of the election campaign, Mr Nile also renewed his vow not to support the state government's proposed electricity poles and wires sell-off unless a public inquiry found no workers would be worse off, and power prices would not increase.[/font][/size][/color]
[color=#333333][size=3][font=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]"They must convince us that the prices will go down, not up," he told the crowd of about 80 at the party's campaign launch on Friday night. He later told Fairfax Media that power prices could be allowed to rise in line with inflation, but he would need to be satisfied a mechanism was in place to ensure prices could be controlled.[/font][/size][/color]
[color=#333333][size=3][font=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Both conditions were non-negotiable, Mr Nile said, but he was "almost certain" the government would accept them.[/font][/size][/color]
[color=#333333][size=3][font=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]"They desperately want to sell it, so we've got them over the barrel," he said.[/font][/size][/color]
[color=#333333][size=3][font=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Mr Nile jointly holds the balance of power in the Legislative Council, but a recent Fairfax-Ipsos poll found there was a good chance his party alone could hold the deciding vote after the March 28 election.[/font][/size][/color]

[/spoiler]
  Showtime Chief Train Controller

Are you reading any of these reports Tezza?
Still subscribing to your notion that no corruption has taken place?
Still think all the rail supporters are all conspiracists and need tin foil hats?
The Baird government and it's supporters have continued to ignore the Courts directions and are just totally contemptible
  tom9876543 Train Controller

The East West link disaster in Melbourne and the Newcastle railway shenanigans both have at least one thing in common..... the Liberal party.
  nswtrains Chief Commissioner

The East West link disaster in Melbourne and the Newcastle railway shenanigans both have at least one thing in common..... the Liberal party.
tom9876543
Seeing a decision has been reserved for 6 months I don't think the Supreme Court thinks there is much urgency about the application.
  tezza Chief Commissioner

Following the release of the Fred Nile opinion piece on March 3rd written before the first sitting of the Hunter Upper House Enquiry, Fred Nile joins Save our Rail and Hunter Concerned Citizens protest rally outside Parliament House. Quite a conflict of interest there with no sign of impartiality at all even after the ICAC finding of no evidence of corruption regarding the railway truncation


http://www.theherald.com.au/story/2919226/railway-supporters-rally-outside-parliament/?cs=305
  tezza Chief Commissioner

Very few people in the Newcastle region were taking the Fred Nile Opinion peice very seriously, now that the charade of the Hunter Parliamentary "Enquiry" has come and gone the Department of Planning and Environment has been the first to respond to the " Recommendeations"
Here is their response and links,on to a letter from ICAC .


Hunter Parliamentary Inquiry

Media Statement: Department of Planning and Environment

3 Mar 2015

The Department of Planning and Environment notes the Committee’s recommendations.

The Department has ensured that the community had ample opportunity to participate in developing the plan to revitalise Newcastle’s CBD.

Recommendations regarding heights

The Newcastle Urban Renewal Strategy and two set of draft amendments to the Newcastle Local Environmental Plan 2012 were publicly exhibited for public feedback over a 127 day period.
Community Information sessions were held in Newcastle and attended by more than 400 people. A draft Development Control Plan for the city centre was exhibited for 31 days.

The height controls for the three towers on the Urban Growth and GPT site were amended to not exceed the height of the parapet of the nave of the Christ Church Cathedral in direct response to community feedback.

Recommendations regarding the Principal Planning Authority

The Committee calls for both the Planning Assessment Commission and Newcastle City Council to have consent authority on applications.

Newcastle City Council cannot be the principal planning authority if development applications are to be referred to the Planning Assessment Commission.

The Council is already the consent authority for developments in its local government area other than those fitting the State Significant criteria.

For those applications that have a capital investment value of more than $20 million, the Joint Regional Planning Panel would assess the application.

This is the same process for every local government area in NSW.

Recommendations regarding alleged Conflicts of Interest

The Department has worked with Urban Growth in the same way as it would any other proponent.

With regard to the recommendationsconcerning the HDC and Urban Growth, these should be considered in conjunction with the ICAC letter. (attached).

View the letter from ICAC to the Parliamentary Inquiry here:
http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/Portals/0/NewsCentre/docs/03032015_Letter-Hon-Latham-ICAC-received-27-January-2015.pdf


Source:
http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/Whatsnewarchive/NewsArticle/TabId/697/ArtMID/1562/ArticleID/320/Hunter-Parliamentary-Inquiry.aspx
  NotebookMan Assistant Commissioner

Location: Wahroonga NSW
Very few people in the Newcastle region were taking the Fred Nile Opinion peice very seriously, now that the charade of the Hunter Parliamentary "Enquiry" has come and gone the Department of Planning and Environment has been the first to respond to the " Recommendeations"
Here is their response and links,on to a letter from ICAC .


Hunter Parliamentary Inquiry

Media Statement: Department of Planning and Environment

3 Mar 2015

The Department of Planning and Environment notes the Committee’s recommendations.

The Department has ensured that the community had ample opportunity to participate in developing the plan to revitalise Newcastle’s CBD.

Recommendations regarding heights

The Newcastle Urban Renewal Strategy and two set of draft amendments to the Newcastle Local Environmental Plan 2012 were publicly exhibited for public feedback over a 127 day period.
Community Information sessions were held in Newcastle and attended by more than 400 people. A draft Development Control Plan for the city centre was exhibited for 31 days.

The height controls for the three towers on the Urban Growth and GPT site were amended to not exceed the height of the parapet of the nave of the Christ Church Cathedral in direct response to community feedback.

Recommendations regarding the Principal Planning Authority

The Committee calls for both the Planning Assessment Commission and Newcastle City Council to have consent authority on applications.

Newcastle City Council cannot be the principal planning authority if development applications are to be referred to the Planning Assessment Commission.

The Council is already the consent authority for developments in its local government area other than those fitting the State Significant criteria.

For those applications that have a capital investment value of more than $20 million, the Joint Regional Planning Panel would assess the application.

This is the same process for every local government area in NSW.

Recommendations regarding alleged Conflicts of Interest

The Department has worked with Urban Growth in the same way as it would any other proponent.

With regard to the recommendationsconcerning the HDC and Urban Growth, these should be considered in conjunction with the ICAC letter. (attached).

View the letter from ICAC to the Parliamentary Inquiry here:
http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/Portals/0/NewsCentre/docs/03032015_Letter-Hon-Latham-ICAC-received-27-January-2015.pdf


Source:
http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/Whatsnewarchive/NewsArticle/TabId/697/ArtMID/1562/ArticleID/320/Hunter-Parliamentary-Inquiry.asp
tezza
This contains nothing about the Newcastle rail line truncation.

OMG! It sounds like I'm accusing tezza of making an off-topic post! Nothing could be further from my mind.

What I'm really getting at is whether the Planning department now believes that the rail cut is a transport issue, and therefore nothing to do with them. (Now where did I put my sarcasm alert...?)
  Newcastle Express Chief Commissioner

Urban Growth (more like Urban Greed) sent letters to top end Newcastle residents thatctheycare going to start drilling IN the rail corridor from TODAY & the bus layover. UG incorrectly calls itca bus depot

Fix post later

Rchad King talkback is ATTEMPTING to contact Urban Growth, but we were told that they are refusing to pick up the phones.

Again, I wil have to fix the post later
  Newcastle Express Chief Commissioner

http://www.nbnnews.com.au/2015/06/01/questions-raised-as-geotechnical-work-starts-on-rail-corridor-from-citys-west-to-newcastle-station

QUESTIONS RAISED AS GEOTECHNICAL WORK STARTS ON RAIL CORRIDOR
It’s being labelled “provocative” – ground testing, which has begun along Newcastle’s rail corridor between the city’s west and Newcastle station.

Save Our Rail and some residents believe it’s evidence the state has plans for MORE development and they say it should wait until after July’s Supreme Court appeal.
NBN TV News
You will need to play the video in the link for the rest of the story.

Earlier about my previous post

Last week, I got information that Urban Growth gave letters to the top end (east end) of Newcastle (I note that some that live there did not get it) stating that they intend to start drilling from Saturday 6 June (note what weekend that is). Urban Growth also incorrectly called the bus layover, a bus depot.

But then today, a local radio show (Richard King's Breakfast Show), said that Urban Growth intends to start drilling from TODAY. What I saw today, TODAY is correct.

Richard King did say on air, that he has ATTEMPTED to get Urban Growth on air. His telephone operator, she said to me, that so far Urban Growth has so far refused to pick up the phone.

The area I saw that they were drilling today (Worth Place to Newcastle Station, INCLUDING the bus layover) roughly equals the area, that they showed with tall buildings IN the rail corridor, and the Newcastle Station Bus Layover

PS: I have attempted to get a written reply from the transport minister about another issue. So far he has failed to reply. This Liberal government doesn't seem to like written replies.
  Newcastle Express Chief Commissioner

The title of what many tsay is a rail land claim "Newcastle Transformation & TRANSPORT".

For goodness sake, this can't-wait-for-the-rail-corridor"  company can't be in charge of transport, that's the transport department.
  TomBTR Chief Train Controller

Location: near Sydney
Thanks for the update. You would be surprised how little of this appears in the Sydney press.
  Newcastle Express Chief Commissioner

At Tom, we are NOT surprised. It has SOME (ie: Fairfax) coverage in Sydney & outside the Hunter, but not much.
  Showtime Chief Train Controller

Sydney people don't give a rat's about what is happening in Newcastle.
They know they are safe in getting additional harbour crossings and all the underground extensions they need.
Most of NSW's budget is spent on Sydney roads and rail while the rest of the state goes without.
Hell nearly every time I tow my van up the Buckets Way to Gloucester I break a spring or a coupling.
No way the silver tails would have a road like that nor would they accept the crap that Baird has put on Newcastle
  Toten Station Master

I've got to disagree there, I live in sydney and I went to the save our rail protests.
  Northern Flyer Train Controller

Time to pack it in Newcastle Flyer, the trains will never go past Wickham. Even if Save Our Rail win the next election, the railway line will be disconnected from the network and covered in many places by grass and asphalt. Four years until the next election will give the Baird Government plenty of time to ensure there is no going back. Maybe you need to put your efforts into getting a better Light Rail outcome.
  Newcastle Express Chief Commissioner

Northern Flyer, I''m allowed to say my opinion, so their! (Stick-out-tongue-smiley). Also, my opinion is independent of any group.
  Northern Flyer Train Controller

Northern Flyer, I''m allowed to say my opinion, so their! (Stick-out-tongue-smiley). Also, my opinion is independent of any group.



Newcastle Express
  Northern Flyer Train Controller
  PKBeam Locomotive Driver

Location: Somewhere in NSW
"Newcastle MP questions timing of rail line drilling"
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-02/newcastle-mp-questions-timing-of-rail-line-drilling/6513888
Spoiler:
The New South Wales government is being urged to release more information about its plans for Newcastle's rail corridor, after geological drilling work began yesterday.
UrbanGrowth NSW says the 'ground testing' in the rail corridor between Worth Place and Watt Street is taking place to better understand soil and groundwater conditions.
It has notified inner city residents the drilling will take place between June 1 and the end of July, between 7:00am and 5:30pm weekdays, and, if necessary, on Saturdays as well.
It says the process involves excavating shallow pits and drilling at various locations, but anticipates the work will create minimal impact for neighbouring residents.
But Newcastle Labor MP Tim Crakanthorp said with the future of the heavy rail corridor still the subject of a court appeal, the drilling work is a concern.
"If they're geotechnical drilling there, you'd assume they're looking to see if there's any mine subsidence under there," he said.
"But you wonder why they're doing that because there's an appeal in the court over the rail line in July.
"At least the government should wait until the outcome of that court case is known."
Mr Crakanthorp said it is time the government told the people of Newcastle what plans it has.
"The government is doing a large amount of drilling from Worth Place to Watt Street, which is not an area that seems to be specified for a great deal of development.
"So we're just wondering what is going on there.
"The government originally said it would be green space, then they said there'd be cafes, then large development.
"What are their plans now? Non-stop high-rise development from Worth Place to Watt Street?
"They need to come clean on what is going on down there.
"Mike Baird called this the people's project, yet the people of Newcastle are being kept in the dark."

"Newcastle rail work goes on prior to court hearing"
http://www.maitlandmercury.com.au/story/3123959/newcastle-rail-work-goes-on-prior-to-court-hearing/
Spoiler:
Work to transform the Newcastle rail corridor is continuing, with little more than a month left before a Supreme Court hearing that could determine the fate of the disused train line.
The hearing on July 15 and 16 will involve appeals and counter appeals over the state government’s decision to remove the heavy rail line between Wickham and Newcastle stations.
Contractors have removed several pieces of rail infrastructure since the Supreme Court ruled in December that the rail line could not be removed without an act of Parliament, but no tracks have been removed.
Fairfax Media reported this week that a drilling rig had been brought into the rail corridor.
Many Mercury readers have expressed concern in recent months that the plan would leave them with inferior and complicated public transport options into the city.
But supporters of the plan say a new transport interchange at Wickham and a light rail network into Newcastle’s CBD will be a key part of the city’s renewal.
  Northern Flyer Train Controller

"Newcastle MP questions timing of rail line drilling"
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-02/newcastle-mp-questions-timing-of-rail-line-drilling/6513888
Spoiler:
The New South Wales government is being urged to release more information about its plans for Newcastle's rail corridor, after geological drilling work began yesterday.
UrbanGrowth NSW says the 'ground testing' in the rail corridor between Worth Place and Watt Street is taking place to better understand soil and groundwater conditions.
It has notified inner city residents the drilling will take place between June 1 and the end of July, between 7:00am and 5:30pm weekdays, and, if necessary, on Saturdays as well.
It says the process involves excavating shallow pits and drilling at various locations, but anticipates the work will create minimal impact for neighbouring residents.
But Newcastle Labor MP Tim Crakanthorp said with the future of the heavy rail corridor still the subject of a court appeal, the drilling work is a concern.
"If they're geotechnical drilling there, you'd assume they're looking to see if there's any mine subsidence under there," he said.
"But you wonder why they're doing that because there's an appeal in the court over the rail line in July.
"At least the government should wait until the outcome of that court case is known."
Mr Crakanthorp said it is time the government told the people of Newcastle what plans it has.
"The government is doing a large amount of drilling from Worth Place to Watt Street, which is not an area that seems to be specified for a great deal of development.
"So we're just wondering what is going on there.
"The government originally said it would be green space, then they said there'd be cafes, then large development.
"What are their plans now? Non-stop high-rise development from Worth Place to Watt Street?
"They need to come clean on what is going on down there.
"Mike Baird called this the people's project, yet the people of Newcastle are being kept in the dark."

"Newcastle rail work goes on prior to court hearing"
http://www.maitlandmercury.com.au/story/3123959/newcastle-rail-work-goes-on-prior-to-court-hearing/
Spoiler:
Work to transform the Newcastle rail corridor is continuing, with little more than a month left before a Supreme Court hearing that could determine the fate of the disused train line.
The hearing on July 15 and 16 will involve appeals and counter appeals over the state government’s decision to remove the heavy rail line between Wickham and Newcastle stations.
Contractors have removed several pieces of rail infrastructure since the Supreme Court ruled in December that the rail line could not be removed without an act of Parliament, but no tracks have been removed.
Fairfax Media reported this week that a drilling rig had been brought into the rail corridor.
Many Mercury readers have expressed concern in recent months that the plan would leave them with inferior and complicated public transport options into the city.
But supporters of the plan say a new transport interchange at Wickham and a light rail network into Newcastle’s CBD will be a key part of the city’s renewal.
PKBeam



The reality is that the court case does not make a lick of difference. The government is already building Wickham Interchange which will block the tracks. Going east the tracks are already covered in six more locations. The court case may affect the final use of the corridor, but it will never see the return of trains.
  Northern Flyer Train Controller
  tezza Chief Commissioner

The end.
  Newcastle Express Chief Commissioner

So why don't you post "The End" in the Murwillumbah Line thread, as that line is closed? - And all the other threads that talk about closed lines?
  Mufreight Train Controller

Location: North Ipswich
http://www.newcastle.nsw.gov.au/about_newcastle/news_and_events/media_releases/media_releases/the_city_of_newcastle_and_urbangrowth_nsw_to_sign_collaborative_mouLabor dominated Newcastle Council concede that trains are not returning to Civic and Newcastle Stations and sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government to plan reuse of the railway corridor. http://www.newcastle.nsw.gov.au/about_newcastle/news_and_events/media_releases/media_releases/the_city_of_newcastle_and_urbangrowth_nsw_to_sign_collaborative_mou
Northern Flyer
With the line closed the government should take the opportunity to underground the line for most of its length by cut and cover the costs of which would be recouped by the sale of air rights over most of the length, a solution that should satisfy both sides of the argument and enable the preservation of Newcastle station.

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