The Baird government is trying to bypass parliament and give itself discretionary power to shut down rail lines across the state with a new bill before parliament.
A report in today’s Sydney Morning Herald has been seized on by the NSW Greens who say the government is trying to remove the ability of parliament to scrutinise the shutting down of rail lines, and give itself the discretionary power to make these decisions.
Greens NSW MP and transport spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi said ‘they might claim that the current rules are “archaic” and foster “legal uncertainty”, but the law is there for a good reason: to provide a basic check-and-balance on the government’.
‘There are really concerning implications here for potential unwanted development on rail corridors and encroachment on public land,’ Dr Faruqi said.
‘We saw last year in Newcastle, after a long fight, the government couldn’t wait to rip up the Newcastle rail line despite the lack of a clear transport plan for its replacement, and this bill would simply make it much easier for them to do things like that.
‘Rail infrastructure and rail corridors are protected under the current legislation because we know that these are invaluable and precious assets, and they must not be touched without the full authorisation of the elected parliament.
‘The Upper House numbers were very tight last year on the Newcastle rail closure bill, so the government will face a tough fight this time around. The Greens will be working hard to defeat it,’ she said.