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MOST of the state's councils have demanded that the Government scrap the CBD Metro and revive the north and south-west rail links as Labor loses support among its own councillors for the line.
Yesterday all but a handful of more than 500 councillors at the NSW Local Government Conference in Tamworth supported a motion by Leichhardt Council to oppose the metro.
Not one Labor councillor spoke against the motion, and a group of councillors from the city's west and north-west - where the lack of public transport is felt most keenly - elected to leave the room rather than vote against it.
"There's more than one way to skin a cat," one Labor councillor said before leaving. "I can't vote against [the metro] but I'm not voting for it."
The councillors also unanimously supported a motion from Hunters Hill Council to demand the Government start building the Epping to Chatswood, north-west and south-west rail links.
The Hunters Hill motion included a call for the Government to provide funding for a feasibility study on the extension of the light rail system from Central Station to Circular Quay and from Central to Dulwich Hill.
"For people in the Hills shire the promise to deliver the north-west rail link isn't just words on a page, it's a project that is desperately needed for quality of life," said the Deputy Mayor of Hills Shire Council, Labor councillor Ray Harty.
"The Government needs to keep its election promise and begin work on these plans for the good of local communities across Sydney.''
Even the man who some hold responsible for Sydney's transport malaise, the former premier Bob Carr, appeared to criticise the party over its abandonment of the north-west link.
After delivering the conference's keynote address, Mr Carr said his government had introduced the plan and he remained a strong supporter.
"When I left politics in 2005 the north-west rail link remained NSW government policy," he said. "The current government needs to answer questions about why it elected not to pursue that policy in favour of other transport options."
Mr Carr later denied his comments were meant as a criticism.
The conference motions came amid suggestions that support for the CBD Metro is slipping within Labor's rank and file. Two Labor councillors from Leichhardt, Darcy Byrne and Lyndal Howison, have reportedly come out against the plan as their local branches in Balmain buck the government line.
Cr Byrne told the Inner West Courier that the project would be of little benefit to his constituents in Rozelle unless it proceeded concurrently with either the west metro or the north-west metro.
This is despite the Transport Minister, David Campbell, reportedly telling local ALP members three weeks ago that they needed to "hold the line" on the CBD Metro at all costs.
Mr Campbell declined to comment when asked about opposition to the project within his own party's ranks.
Sydney Morning Herald
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