If most 17 year olds WANT to get a car ASAP and if a family WANTS to own 1 car per family member by choice, that is perfectly fine, the problem comes when it is a requirement, and when it's impossible to get a job without a car, and a 17 year old needs to get a car BEFORE they can work is unacceptable, and it doesn't help that it's impossible to get a car without first getting a job unless you come from a family wealthy enough to buy you one and pay for all the registration and insurance. I didn't get my car as soon as I was 17 (never came form a rich family), I managed to get some work (but from what I was told, it was the exception rather than the rule) and it would take me upwards of 2 hours to get from some parts of Newcastle to another - almost quicker to commute to Sydney.The issue of needing a car to get to work is not limited to Newcastle by any means. You also don't need to be rich to buy a car.
I was not referring to Newcastle specifically in terms of people being okay with unemployment, I was actually referring to a time when I was talking with another use about improving the Thirroul-Waterfall route and they mentioned giving a large number of people access to the Sydney labour market and I said it would be better for there to improve local services and there should be a Wollongong labour market, they actually disagreed with this and defended the commute to Sydney model we have now.
As I mentioned earlier, I am mainly talking about public transport, but unemployment and the cost of living stems from public transport, in this case, it's about how small businesses who rely on foot traffic will struggle in a car dependent environment, and how employers only favour applicants with cars.
Currently the sparks are more of an extension of the Central Coast line, previously, 2 carriage K-Sets ran local services between Newcastle and Morisset, now it's just all top Sydney services every hour on weekdays, still the same level of the service though, and no local service on weekends, they just stop every second Sydney express to give local stations a frequency of 1 train every 2 hours.
The biggest problem with the sparked line is fact that any local destination along the line doesn't have a station, or if it does, it's inaccessible (not reffering to lifts here but rather safe places to cross roads), likewise in the Newcastle suburban portion of the Hunter Line, local destinations alongside the line don't have nearby stations, the large Newcastle TAFE being an example here.
Connection times between the Hunter Line and the sparked line are usually also very poor (especially on weekends when there is reduced services).
PS: I think I remember hearing somewhere that the NSW government was committed to local manufacturing for the new regional fleet, but that never happened.
In today's money my first car cost $1000 and it was paid for out of my own pocket, including insurance.
The issue is where the parents choose to live with respect to the PT corridors. If they choose to live away from reasonable PT, then they need to accept responsibility for their child's transport.
Newcastle has many areas that are away from main suburbia and Sydney has similar that are not well served by PT.