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THE state government has demanded that Tim Crakanthorp make his position on the retention of heavy rail into Newcastle clear.
This week the Newcastle Herald reported that both Jodie Harrison, the member for Charlestown, and Luke Foley, the opposition leader, had conceded that there would be no chance of Labor reinstating the heavy rail line if it was returned to power in 2019 because work on truncating the line would be too far advanced.
Ms Harrison told the Herald on Monday that the party had moved on from the issue, saying “the fight is lost, the rail is gone”.
Her comments were echoed by Mr Foley when he was in Newcastle on Tuesday, the opposition leader saying it “won’t be possible” to restore the line, and that the party would focus on “policy development to improve public transport services in this city”.
But on Thursday the government’s parliamentary secretary for the government, Scot MacDonald, called for “consistency” from the party, accusing Labor members who have campaigned on reinstating the line, like Mr Crakanthorp and the member for Maitland, Jenny Aitchison of ducking the issue.
“The local MPs, in Maitland and Newcastle in particular, are saying one thing to their community and another thing when they go down to Macquarie Street,” he said.
“We get the opposition leader come up from Sydney and he says this is the case [that heavy rail won’t be reinstated], but we’ve still got the local MP’s from Newcastle and Maitland with a very clear record of saying they will restore the rail.
“So who’s in charge?”
Ms Aitchison though hit back angrily at Mr MacDonald, saying he was “like a mosqutio that buzzes around trying to make trouble”.
This article first appeared on www.theherald.com.au
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