Friday, 11 March 2016 12:33

Parliament gives power to close rail without review

Media release, 11 March, 2016

The Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) has indicated its severe disappointment following the NSW Parliament’s passing of amendments to the Transport Administration Act 1988 yesterday.

The 2016 amendment will allow the NSW Minister for Transport and Infrastructure to authorise the closure of any railway line in the greater Sydney, Newcastle, Central Coast or Wollongong metropolitan region in connection to the development of state significant infrastructure.

WSROC President Cllr Tony Hadchiti said, “While we appreciate the motivation for this amendment was to fast-track infrastructure projects – many of which will benefit Western Sydney – it has opened up the opportunity for future governments and ministers to act at their personal discretion when it comes to matters of state significant infrastructure.”

“The decision to remove existing railway lines should require approval from the NSW Parliament and not reside in the minister of the day; whoever they might be,” said Cllr Hadchiti.

“We acknowledge that it can be time consuming to put each and every transport issue to parliament however, we believe there were solid reasons for this process; especially where significant infrastructure is concerned,” he said.

“The primary concern of the government should be to ensure accountability and transparency are maintained now and into the future. These values should not be sacrificed for the sake of convenience,” said Cllr Hadchiti.

“Railways have played such a critical role in the economic development of our state that they must be protected from potentially short-sighted decision making regardless of political persuasion,” he said.

“There may be very good reasons to remove a particular rail line, however WSROC would be far more comfortable for parliamentary approval to be part of due process,” said Cllr Hadchiti.

[ENDS]

 

Media contact: Kelly-Anne Gee, 02 9671 4333 (ext. 118), 0425 871 868 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Related articles:

Transport Administration Amendment (Authority to Close Railway Lines) Bill 2016

 

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