Friday, 10 August 2018

Light Rail Class Action to Commence Saturday

BY MADELAINE MCNEILL

At least 45 Newcastle businesses who have been impacted by light rail construction are expected to join a class action lawsuit to be launched against the state government tomorrow.

The legal action is being organised by Sydney councillor and small business owner Angela Vithoulkas, whose own experience with light rail construction along George Street prompted her to help Newcastle businesses facing the same plight.

"I've been suffering on the light rail construction route for three years," Cr Vithoulkas said.

"I completely understand the pain of the Newcastle business owners, they have been abandoned and ignored by the state government and I want to help them like I've helped hundreds of businesses in Sydney."

Many businesses in Newcastle's CBD have reported significant losses in trade owing to the effects of construction, including restricted access, limited parking and increased noise.

Struggling local businesses have repeatedly called for the same government assistance afforded to those in Sydney in the form of rent-relief, only to be told it wouldn't be coming.

Angela Vithoulkas says Newcastle businesses deserve more from the state government.

"They don't have hundreds of thousands of visitors coming in and out of their area every day like we do in Sydney to help us cope," said Cr Vithoulkas.

"They've given more to NSW, they deserve better."

Interested residents can join the class action at a meeting with Cr Vithoulkas tomorrow, but anyone who wishes to learn more before signing up is assured they can join at any time.

A legal team from Mitry Lawyers will also be present at tomorrow's meeting to provide extra information and advice for anyone considering joining the lawsuit.

Cr Vithoulkas says its a shame the state government hasn't learned their lesson on the impacts of these infrastructure projects on local communities.

"If their goal is to wipe out communities, then they're on track," she told 2NURFM.

"We want infrastructure, we want progress, but we want our small businesses to still be there when they're done."

The meeting regarding the class action will take place at Customs House on Saturday, August 11th, beginning at 12pm.

Image: The Herald


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