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Action for Public Transport (N.S.W.) Inc.

Rozelle Rail Yards at White Bay

posted Tuesday 13 December 2016
New South Wales Roads & Maritime Services has called for submissions on a proposal for a "clean-up" (its term) of the former White Bay railway goodsyard which has not been used for about 20 years. APTNSW has made the following submission on this proposal:
APTNSW opposes the proposal by NSW Roads and Maritime Services to remove rail and rail related infrastructure from the Rozelle Rail Yards at Lilyfield and Rozelle.

The Review of Environmental Factors has been done in the full knowledge that the Minister for Planning has not approved the use of this key area of land for the Westconnex tollway project. It claims that the "site management works which comprise this proposal do not form part of the M4-M5 Link project. Should the M4-M5 Link project not proceed the proposal would enable other potential future developments at the Site".

This is in our view a duplicitous proposal. The "other potential future developments at the Site" should sanity prevail include a rail corridor, which would of course require the very thing the "site management works" would destroy: railway tracks. Plainly the purpose of destroying the tracks is to create an impression of inevitability to ease the destructive path of an ill-considered project by making better alternatives more expensive than they would be.

The Auditor-General has already commented unfavourably on the pattern of committing to expenditure before Westconnex has been properly considered and indeed before while it remains at the planning stage. This seems to be another example of this bad practice. We note that the email address to which comments are to be sent is "info@westconnex"; the removal of the rail tracks is in no-one's interest apart from that of the proponent of Westconnex. This might suggest that the cost of this work should be coming from the Westconnex budget. And yet the proposed works would be done for, and presumably at the expense of, RMS.

The REF says that 3 options have been considered:

The appropriate action at the present time is Option 2. The destruction of the rail tracks now is premature, at best. Rail tracks do not need to be removed to allow for the control of noxious weeds.

If this work is in fact part of the Westconnex project, it should be paid for as part of that project. It should not proceed unless and until the project is approved at this location. Similarly, and preferably, the cleanup works could form part of a better project - a rail link using the existing corridor and perhaps the existing tracks (blithely described as "redundant" with no consideration of their potential for re-use for passenger transport).

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