ICAC FALLOUT: Newcastle rail line truncation inquiry sought by state greens and Labor members

Perth MP Alannah MacTiernan, Save Our Rail president Joan Dawson and Greens MLC Mehreen Faruqi, address the public and the media last week.

Perth MP Alannah MacTiernan, Save Our Rail president Joan Dawson and Greens MLC Mehreen Faruqi, address the public and the media last week.

GREENS and Labor members of the State Parliament's upper house are pushing for an inquiry into the truncation of the Newcastle rail line, following evidence of alleged illegal donations presented at the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).

Greens NSW MLC Mehreen Faruqi spent several hours with the community group Save Our Rail last Wednesday and was joined by Labor Perth MP Alannah MacTiernan.

Several state cabinet ministers have been replaced since the decision to truncate the rail was announced, and Newcastle MP Tim Owen and Charlestown MP Andrew Cornwell resigned shortly after taking the stand at ICAC hearings this month. Newcastle lord mayor Jeff McCloy also resigned.

Addressing Save Our Rail, Dr Faruqi said she was part of the budget estimates hearing that grilled Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian last week.

Ms Berejiklian was quizzed over the plans she said would improve public transport in Newcastle, despite her department's prediction that patronage would drop with the truncation of the line.

Dr Faruqi said transport department figures showed there would be a 23 per cent decrease in train patronage if the train line was cut at Wickham. Ms Berejiklian said the decision to cut the line was based on the revitalisation of the city, and not wholly on public transport factors.

With Labor on board, Dr Faruqi needs the support of the Christian Democratic Party or the Shooters and Fishers Party to force an inquiry into the government's decision to truncate the line.

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