What would Gladys Do?
LABOR MUST EXTEND 3801's LEASE UNTIL ELECTION
Shadow Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian today demanded the lemma-Costa Labor Government extend the operating lease for the 3801 steam locomotive to give voters a chance to save this historic piece of living history.
"The lemma-Costa Labor Government wants to sell-off 3801's inner-city home to developers and take the locomotive away from the largely volunteer organisation that has successfully run operations for the last 20 years," Ms Berejiklian said.
"3801 will be making its final journey from Eveleigh today because their operating lease expires and the lemma-Costa Government will not renew it," she said.
"The NSW Liberal/Nationals believes the current lease should be renewed so the historic 3801 steam locomotive can continue operating.
"This is a popular heritage tourist attraction that should be enjoyed by future generations.
The lemma-Costa Government's decision to redevelop 3801's Eveleigh base for high-rise buildings, the failure to renew the locomotive's lease (expires on November 26), and the refusal to stop plans for the disposal of its heritage carriages will see the service driven off the rails.
A NSW Liberal/Nationals Government would ensure RailCorp renews the existing lease and was prevented from disposing of any of the rolling stock.
"Every effort must be made to preserve this important piece of rail heritage as an operating train," Ms Berejiklian said.
"We firmly believe the 3801's home, the Large Erecting Shop at Eveleigh, should be maintained for heritage railway operations.
"The heritage significance of the facility, built in the 1880's, is recognised by the National Trust. It's a scandal that the Minister for Planning, who is also responsible for the Heritage Office, is allowing its demolition.
"The volunteers and steam enthusiasts who make up 3801 Limited have done a wonderful job of running and maintaining the 3801 locomotive for the last 20 years, they should be allowed to continue their good work.
"It would be a tragedy for the 3801 to end up sitting idle in a museum after proving itself to be such a popular and nostalgic living tourist attraction.
"The Government should extend the lease until the state election in March to allow the people of NSW to have a say in the future of their rail heritage," Ms Berejiklian said.
Gladys Berejiklian MP
Shadow Minister for Transport
Shadow Minister for Waterways
Assistant Shadow Minister for Citizenship
MEDIA RELEASE - 26 November 2006