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Finally – the final transport master plan. Or is it?

Dec 14, 2012Hot Topic

NSW Transport Minister Gladys Berejilian yesterday revealed the final version of the state’s 20-year transport master plan. But then less than 24-hours later the government announced it will be cutting the Newcastle passenger rail line at Wickham – a major transport decision that wasn’t in the master plan.

What do you make of that? Is the Master Plan really as well thought out as they’ve made out?

The final transport master plan includes a commitment to additional public transport, including building a $1.6billion light rail network to run down George St and out to Randwick and the second harbour crossing.

Loco Division Secretary Bob Hayden said that while a commitment to extra public transport is very welcomed, the detail and delivery needs to be approached with caution.

“The proposed idea that the new light rail system be delivered by a public partnership is however, a disaster waiting to happen. We’ve seen what can go terribly wrong with public private partnerships – the Reliance Rail bailout is a prime example,” Bob Hayden said.

“There’s also no detail around the future requirements for the workforce in the master plan, which is disappointing and worrying.

“However there are some real positives in this plan – things like the introduction of the second harbour crossing and the fixing of rail bridges.

Bob Hayden said that while there were many positive aspects of the Transport Master plan, its relevance was questioned less than 24-hours after its release when Infrastructure Minster Brad Hazzard announced plans to cut the Newcastle passenger rail line at Wickham and send everyone into the CBD by bus. The idea was mooted as one of a range of possibilities in the master plan, but not set up in any detail whatsoever.

“The Transport Master Plan has taken well over 12 months to finalise, and nowhere in it does it set out a plan for the Newcastle line in any detail, then next thing you know there’s an announcement of a huge shake up of public transport in Newcastle.

“It’s makes you wonder if the government is following a thought out plan at all or if it’s just making decisions on the fly.

“Public transport has long been a huge area of concern for the people of Newcastle. Now it will become the only major city centre in Australia that isn’t serviced by rail. In an areas that even the government admits has some serious traffic congestion issues, is making it more difficult for people to access public transport that really good planning?”

What do you think?

Is the Newcastle move a good idea or is the government just pandering to the wants of the developers?

Do you support the RTBU’s position of opposing the removal of rail services from Newcastle?

Do you think the Transport Master Plan is a positive sign for the future of NSW’s transport?

See the full and final version of the Transport Master Plan here: http://haveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/transportmasterplan