Many people concerned with the future of Newcastle found the last election frustrating. The future development of transport in Newcastle – particularly the future of the rail line between Hamilton and Newcastle terminus – was supposed to be a major policy fight between the two major parties. But despite years of debate, neither side produced a policy that attracted wide support.
The Liberal Party proposed removing and selling the existing rail line, and promised the future development of a light rail down the middle of Hunter Street. Many loyal Liberal Party members found this policy difficult to support, but kept silent and did not speak against it in the interests of the party.
Similarly, the Labor Party proposed keeping the existing heavy rail, but opening extra level crossings to remove some of its adverse effects. Again, many party members did not agree with this idea, but kept silent due to party loyalties.
After the election, the Liberal Government does not have control of the Upper House, and will not be able to sell or develop the existing rail line. It is a political stalemate, with party supporters entrenched in positions that many don’t agree with. The end result is a failure to achieve any decent public transport system for Newcastle.
Is there another way? The next public forum of the Newcastle Institute will find out.
Professor Jim Jose, Newcastle Uni Political Scientist, will examine the political reality after election. He will followed by Ed Duc, Architect, and Howard Dick, Economist, from the Hunter Independent Public Transport Group. They will discuss possible alternative models for future public transport in Newcastle that could be better than either of the entrenched and unsatisfactory proposals suggested by the two major parties at the election. A forum discussion including Allan Squires, of Hunter Transport for Business Development, will then explore these ideas further.
Without community leadership, the rail issue will remain as a political stalemate preventing the development of a modern transport network for all of Newcastle. The next public Newcastle Institute Forum will be an opportunity for thinking citizens to push the political war machines out of the trenches, and look at more constructive, innovative solutions.
THIS FORUM IS OPEN TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC
VENUE: Banquet Room, Newcastle City Hall
DATE: Wednesday 13th May 2015
TIME: 6.00 till 7.30pm
ADMISSION: $5 Donation