Premier Mike Baird has refused to rule out the possible development of the Newcastle rail corridor after the train line is removed.
The opposition asked Mr Baird in parliament this week for an assurance that rail corridor land in Newcastle would not be leased or sold for development after Boxing Day.
The Premier did not rule out the possibility – but instead slammed Labor’s plan for Newcastle.
Opposition spokeswoman for the Hunter Sonia Hornery asked Mr Baird to postpone the rail cut until after the election and guarantee that the rail corridor would not be handed to property developers.
The Premier replied with a single word: “No.”
The Mercury contacted the Premier’s office for comment, but a spokesman for Mr Baird instead sent back the official Hansard transcripts and referred all further questions to the Planning Minister Pru Goward’s office.
Earlier in Parliament, Mr Baird appeared to avoid direct questions from opposition leader John Robertson about the fate of rail corridor land.
Mr Robertson asked the Premier three times during the exchange whether he could rule out the possibility that the land would be leased or sold.
Mr Baird responded with an attack on Labor’s transport plan for Newcastle and proposed convention centre in the Honeysuckle precinct.
“The leader of the opposition and the shadow cabinet can promise policies that they are never going to deliver and they can promise policies that are not funded, but we on this side take a very different approach,” he said.
“We are proud to deliver for the great city of Newcastle, for that great region and we will continue to do that.
“We will continue to look after their interests.”
Ms Hornery later called on the government to wait for the select parliamentary committee into planning decisions in the Hunter to release its findings before starting work to cut the line.
“At a time when the people of the Hunter are looking to have their faith in politicians restored, the Premier needs to show that people can have faith that the decisions being made are in the best interests of the people, not property developers,” she said.