The veiled threat by Transport Minister Andrew Constance that Newcastle Council is “robbing the people of Newcastle of $100 million” can’t be allowed to push the council into supporting the damaging rezoning proposal.
In October 2015 the Baird Government truncated the Newcastle rail line at Wickham to facilitate development along the corridor, with UrbanGrowth lodging a rezoning proposal in July 2016.
Newcastle Greens Councillor Therese Doyle said:
“To date Council has stood up to the aggression coming from Macquarie Street and I’m hopeful we will keep a pro-community majority in place to protect our vital transport corridor.
“It’s not Minister Constance’s money, nor is it Premier Baird’s, this is public money and it has all come from the privatisation of Newcastle Port.
“If the money is not spent on destroying the rail corridor it must be spent elsewhere in Newcastle to deliver a real public benefit,” Councillor Doyle said.
Greens MP and Planning Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:
“If the Baird Government thinks that it can just bully Newcastle Council into making a bad decision, I hope it gets a very rude shock.
“We know from past experience that as soon as public land is rezoned, open space is minimised and private profits win out. This is why council and the community must be given adequate time to assess this rezoning.
“The member of Newcastle will come under a lot of pressure to agree to UrbanGrowth’s rezoning and I give him credit for standing firm on sound planning principles.
“This is just another example of the Baird Government selling out the Newcastle community to private interests and developer profits.” Mr Shoebridge said.