LABOR has called on the Baird government to release legal advice justifying its stance that it has the authority to truncate Newcastle’s rail line without the need for an Act of Parliament, despite legislation that suggests otherwise.
Opposition leader John Robertson wrote to Premier Mike Baird on Friday calling for the advice to be released for public scrutiny, arguing Labor believes the government has ‘‘no legal basis’’ in closing the line on December 26.
Under the Transport Administration Act, the government needs Parliament’s authority to close a rail line.
‘‘A railway line is closed if the land concerned is sold or otherwise disposed of or the railway tracks and other works concerned are removed," the act states.
In his letter, Mr Robertson told the Premier any tampering or removal of physical infrastructure associated with the operation of the rail line would be ‘‘in breach of the law’’.
If it had no legal advice to rely on, then the government must immediately reverse the decision to close the line.
“If the Premier has legal advice, he must release it,’’ Mr Robertson told the Newcastle Herald.
‘‘The government doesn’t have an electoral mandate to close the line. To bulldoze his way through without a legal mandate would set a new record for arrogance.”
The government wasn’t interested on Friday.
A spokeswoman for the Premier reiterated recent comments from Transport minister Gladys Berejiklian.
‘‘The NSW government has said Newcastle Council will have the final say if any development occurs on the former rail corridor,’’ she said.
‘‘The final plans for the corridor have not been determined and will be subject to community consultation.”
‘‘At this stage it is not believed an Act of Parliament will be required.’’
The Parliament’s term concluded in November.