COMPREHENSIVE, resounding, emphatic. Tim Crakanthorp’s victory for Labor was all of those, but what does it really mean for Newcastle?
Liberal government, Labor MP on the opposition backbench. Now what?
The Premier and at least two of his senior ministers said the election would double as a referendum on the city’s rail line.
Liberal candidate Karen Howard called it a referendum on the city’s future.
Well, the result is in, but can anyone really see Mr Baird backing away from his light rail plan any time soon? At least not until the government’s court appeal is heard. And even if the government loses, will we be left with heavy rail terminating at Wickham anyway and a weed-infested corridor of nothing?
But Newcastle’s new headache stretches beyond that 2.2-kilometre strip of steel now half-buried under bitumen.
The government won its mandate to lease the poles and wires and will raise about $20billion in the process. Of that, $6billion has been promised to the state’s regions, to be carved up as the government sees fit.
What are Newcastle’s chances when Our Tim knocks on Mike’s door?
There will be $600million in a cultural infrastructure fund. What are Tim’s chances of getting just $14million of it to meet Labor’s commitment to extend Newcastle Art Gallery? Sorry, gallery supporters, I think things are on ice for another four years.
There will be $1billion for regional roads, and Newcastle’s share will be? $300million for fast-tracking health projects, and Newcastle’s chances are? $300million for tourism and environmental projects, $600million for sporting stadiums, $1billion for water security projects. There’s another $2billion for freight corridors, but will Adamstown gates be going anywhere soon?
How big a slice of those pies would Tim get when the government would rather leave him in the oven to burn?
That’s the reality now facing this city. Tim Crakanthorp is capable and willing to fight for our share, but the signs that politics will serve us well for the next four years aren’t good, regardless of which side of the rail line we sit on.