Maitland transport petition tabled

A PETITION signed by more than 1000 residents who want better public transport for Maitland and a return of heavy rail into Newcastle has been tabled in State Parliament.

The petition, tabled by Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison on Tuesday, also calls for the interim introduction of the same stops for existing bus shuttles as are proposed for light rail, make Victoria Street station accessible for people with mobility issues, and introduce stations in the western growth areas of Maitland to service Bolwarra Heights, Oakhampton, Aberglasslyn and McKeachie’s Run.

‘‘Despite a court ruling and intense public dissatisfaction, the Baird Liberal government has continued to ignore the wishes of people in Maitland and the Upper Hunter by passing legislation in the lower house to permanently remove the line.

The government is expected to introduce legislation into the upper house this week to remove the rail line.

Ms Aitchison said the government’s plan to truncate the rail line was an attack on democracy.

‘‘This truncation has been rejected by all Hunter communities, it is also an attack on the democracy of our state,’’ she said.

‘‘This truncation has been rejected by all Hunter communities since the 2011 election. Pro-truncation candidates in the Hunter have suffered massive swings against them and in most cases lost their seats.’’

Ms Aitchison has sought to establish a Hunter Planning and Transport Authority for the Hunter.

The authority would be charged with ensuring an integrated transport, land use and development plan for the Hunter Region to ensure the economic development and social inclusion for Hunter communities.