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State must accept that questions remain over Revitalising Newcastle

Jun 17, 2017News

EVENTS on Thursday show the state government is winning the big points when it comes to the revitalisation of the Newcastle business district.

If the government’s plans produce the intended effect, then we will all, as a community, be grateful for the effort. In the meantime, though, the jury is still out on how the city will fare when light rail comes to dominate much of the city’s main street.

In this regard, Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali is doing exactly what is expected of her as civic leader in pressing Transport Minister Andrew Constance over a promised study into expansion of the light rail.

On one hand, Mr Constance’s answer  – that the government would use the expertise of its public transport operator, Keolis Downer, in looking at an expansion – is commonsense enough.

On the other hand, the government committed to the study when it cut a deal with the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party to expedite the truncation of the city’s heavy rail line. If it was fair dinkum about the study – and more importantly, about funding, over time, an expansion of the system – then there would be no need to slap down the lord mayor when she asks a reasonable question about the study’s progress.


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