Newcastle's 2nd Best Tag

Newcastle rai; (Small)Admittedly I too was excited to hear a decision had been made on the rail but when you look at it, what was the decision?

As I said in this very magazine 4 years ago the rail is the least of our concerns as a city and a region. At that time GPT was spoofing about leaving if the rail wasn’t removed! Leaving – were they ever coming in the first place?

Who gave GPT the moral right to spruike what was best for the city when they had just wasted millions of dollars of investors funds acquiring sites & businesses for a shopping centre that had little chance of surviving in the first place.

Now the new State Government has stepped in and made the decision to remove 1200m of track without telling us when it will be done, what will replace it or when the funding will be available. Stopping it at Wickham is like building another Tourle Street
bridge. Another bottle neck and another ‘Newcastle cops second best’. As that T-shirt in Asia says….“Same same but different”.

Probably what annoyed me the most was an email doing the rounds promoted by a group of business people and semi-government employees asking business houses to support the Minister For Planning by emailing their gratitude for the courageous announcement that is, the cutting of the rail line at Wickham.

Show the city the details, announce the funding, provide us with a proper transport interchange linked to a suburban integrated transport network.  And that will be courageous!

Whether the rail line exists or not, whether we have a station at Wickham or somewhere else, whether they use buses (Heaven forbid) or light rail, the economy in this region is pushing on.

Last months auctions re-enforced the fact that the investor had returned to the property market. Well placed, well tenanted buildings of all shapes and sizes are being sold at decreasing yields.  The last Raine & Horne auction saw three of the four investment properties either sold prior to the auction or under the hammer for yields as low as 6.6%.

Private investors can see what this region has to offer and are wanting to take a stake hold in its growth. So why then with the billions of dollars the region contributes through coal royalties, pay roll taxes and government corporations do we continue to accept second best schemes and solutions?

Instead of pandering we need to be demanding infrastructure solutions that are world class. Why worry about 1200 mts of track when we should be creating a more  sustainable city for the generations to come with 60 kms of a suburban light rail network.

Lets stop copping second best and start demanding real solutions!

Steven Dick
Director Raine & Horne Commercial – Newcastle

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