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The State Transport Minister is refusing to comment on the decision to cut Newcastle's rail line, fuelling criticism that it is aimed more at developers than improving public transport.
Gladys Berejiklian yesterday deflected requests for comment about the plan to cut the heavy rail line and build a new transport interchange at Wickham.
A spokesman for the Minister said the matter was being handled only by the Planning Minister.
David Woollams from the Rail Tram and Bus Union says it is extraordinary that the Transport Minister would have nothing to say about such a major decision for Newcastle.
"It's really got a lot of people including ourselves asking who the government is prioritising, is it for the customers or developers? " he said.
"I mean this is obviously part of the Transport Minister's portfolio and for her to be saying she doesn't want to talk about it does lend itself to the argument that it's nothing to do with better transport but more to do with developing the site up there."
Cessnock's Labor Mayor Bob Pynsent says cutting Newcastle's rail line is another blow to young regional people already struggling with substandard public transport.
After decades of debate Planning Minister Brad Hazzard yesterday revealed plans to end the train line at Wickham and build a new transport interchange.
Frequent bus services will replace trains and the rail corridor will remain as public space, with eight new links to connect the city to the waterfront.
Councillor Pynsent says cutting the line is a bad move.
"You know public transport for people in Cessnock is tough." he said.
"We need whatever we can to be able to get our young people to uni."
"We need you know a very efficient system developed and I'm unsure whether this proposal will assist our people."
David Woollams agrees that regional people will lose out when the Newcastle inner-city rail line goes.
"It's disastrous decision." he said.
"I mean every major city around Australia has a railway line running into the heart of the city."
"I see major problems for people in the Maitland area and the Lower and Upper Hunter areas that access the centre of Newcastle by this decision."
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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