Minister's directive to UrbanGrowth fails to address issues at heart of Newcastle transformation

JP_and_Newcastle_activists.jpgMEDIA RELEASE - September 4, 2015

Speaking during a visit to Newcastle on Friday, Greens spokesperson for urban growth, Jamie Parker MP, said the differences between the consultation process for the Newcastle transformation project and Sydney’s Bays Precinct project were startling.

“Over the past twelve months in relation to Bays Precinct, I have personally attended a number of discovery days, workshops, forums and most significantly, an international summit held over two days with urban transformation specialists from around Australia and overseas,” said Mr Parker.

“The Premier even set the scene by declaring Bays Precinct a “complete and utter blank canvas”.

“Yet the consultation process undertaken by UrbanGrowth NSW for their Newcastle project seems to be more about forcing through a predetermined plan to tear up the intercity rail to benefit developers.

“Only last month, the outgoing head of Hunter Development Corporation, Paul Broad, decried the Hunter region “losing its voice” and pointed to a shift of power from Newcastle to Sydney. This sentiment has been keenly expressed by the local community throughout this process,” said Mr Parker.

“The Planning Minister’s admission this week that he has directed UrbanGrowth NSW to revisit building heights in the East End development is welcome. I know many people will be holding Minister Stokes to his word and expecting a new transparent, responsive approach from UrbanGrowth NSW,” said Michael Osborne, Greens Councillor and Newcastle City Council Deputy Lord Mayor.

“The Greens continue to back the broader community’s call for the re-opening of the intercity rail line into the heart of Newcastle as well as a genuine consultation process without preconditions that also engages the world’s best urban renewal experts,” said Therese Doyle, Greens Councillor on Newcastle City Council.

“Whilst the Planning Minister conceded the East End building heights need review, he should be accepting the decision of the NSW Supreme Court which determined development on the rail corridor would be unlawful,” said Mr Parker.

“Why do the Minister and UrbanGrowth NSW persist with a proposal showing development on the rail corridor which would be in breach of NSW law?

“Newcastle is the second biggest city in this State but its citizens should not be treated second rate. Newcastle deserves world-class community engagement to ensure this major urban renewal project delivers in the long-term public interest, not simply short-term development profit,” said Mr Parker.

Further comment:
Jamie Parker MP 0413 581 603 (Lesa de Leau)
Cr Therese Doyle 0434 257 892
Cr Michael Osborne, Deputy Lord Mayor 0439 442 984

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