A BILL to authorise the closure of Newcastle's rail line could pass NSW Parliament next week, with Shooters and Fishers Party MPs prepared to deliver the government crucial votes to get the legislation through the upper house.
Robert Brown and Robert Borsak have denied any deal has been struck with the Baird government in exchange for their support, which will enable the government to proceed with plans to rip out the rail tracks, install light rail on part of the corridor and potentially develop the rest.
The Shooters MPs said on Wednesday they endorse the plans to rejuvenate the city "provided the government gets its arse into gear and provides [the] high-class light rail system for Newcastle they promised".
The bill was introduced to the lower house on Wednesday, more than eight months after the government stopped running trains amid its assertions it didn't need an Act of Parliament to authorise the rail's removal.
But the Supreme Court ruled otherwise on Christmas Eve, forcing the government to delay removal of the tracks and take the matter to the Court of Appeal, which is yet to hand down its decision.
During question time in Parliament on Wednesday, Transport Minister Andrew Constance noted past demands from Newcastle Labor MP Tim Crakanthorp for the government to abide by statutory requirements and present its plans as legislation.
"He wants legislation - well I'm only too happy to give it to him. Crackers, we're going to crack on with this . . . we're going to get on and build this," he said.
Mr Constance invited Strathfield MP Jodi McKay, who pushed as Newcastle MP and minister for the Hunter for the heavy rail's removal, to support the bill.
But it is the backing of either the Christian Democratic Party MPs, Fred Nile and Paul Green, or the Shooters, that the government needs to get the bill through the upper house. Mr Green said the CDP remained opposed to the rail's removal.
Greens MP David Shoebridge said the Shooters MPs' support would be a "deep betrayal" of their party's large base in the Hunter Valley, who were affected by the loss of trains to Newcastle station.
The question for everyone else was "what's the pay off . . . what's the Baird government committed to buy these votes?" he said.
But Mr Brown said party branches in the region had been consulted about their views and for advice about the consensus of the broader community.
"Most of them just don't care [about the rail] - they want, and what they think most people want, is to see the city improved," he said.
The two MPs also received and considered "hundreds of representations from both sides" of the debate.
"It seems to us that there's as many people in favour of [the rail's removal] as there are against it," he said. Mr Brown said he and Mr Borsak believed that light rail would benefit the city.
Save Our Rail president Joan Dawson claimed the legislation would "open the door for the permanent destruction of public infrastructure and the seizing of public spaces throughout NSW".
Labor transport spokesman Ryan Park said Hunter voters had made it clear that "the bulk of people supported keeping the rail".