On the 14th of October, 2015 I spoke in support on the Baird Liberal Government's legislation to truncate the Newcastle rail spurr and replace it with state of the art Light Rail. This will bring a raft of benefits to the people of Newcastle, a city which has been ignored by Labor for decades.
Newcastle needs light rail and the transit oriented development it will bring, to make the transition from being a city is focussed on mining, to one based on high value knowledge jobs; in Tourism, Education, medicine and research. There is a clear need for Newcastle to have a well-connected, highly liveable urban centre, essential for attracting and keeping students and workers.
Novocastrians understand that it is the heavy rail line which divides the city. Heavy Rail Line does not allow for the kind of pedestrian and vehicular access needed to activate the waterfront. You cannot have a completely integrated, connected city with a Berlin wall of heavy rail running through it.
Because Light Rail uses an existing street pattern it can become a proper part of the built fabric of the city in a way Heavy Rail cannot. Light Rail doesn’t need the over-engineered pedestrian brick walls. It doesn’t need the large mortar & brick stations. All the evidence suggests that people take ownership of their city’s light rail project because it is integrated, rather than separated from their urban existence.
You can also read the speech on Parliament's hansard: