Government failure – win for environment

THE FAILURE of the State Government to secure Austeel on Tomago is a win for the environment according to Newcastle Greens.

Newcastle Greens Lord Mayoral candidate, Cr Ian McKenzie, has called on the Premier to immediately revoke SEPP 74, which was placed adjacent to environmentally sensitive areas of Ramsar-listed Kooragang Wetlands to secure a transport and infrastructure corridor for the Austeel project.

“The State Government rode roughshod over Newcastle Council’s principal planning document, the recently adopted Local Environment Plan (LEP), when it invoked SEPP 74 last year with no warning.”

“There has been virtually no consultation with the community, nor has there been an EIS to assess the potential harm that would be caused by the siting of the transport corridor or the Tomago site for the steel mill.”

“The Premier made promises with insufficient information and without adequate consultation with the Newcastle community,” Cr McKenzie said.

“The State Government is aiming to turn an enormous tract of natural green space bounded by Williamtown, Tomago and Heatherbrae to industrial usage. Remaining conservation land will be intersected by transport and infrastructure corridors.”

“Newcastle Greens support a proposal by the Green Corridor Coalition to protect the last remnant green spaces from Stockton Bight to the Watagans,” Cr McKenzie said.

“With the failure of the Austeel project, the State Government should take a step back and re-consider its ?bull at a gate’ approach to securing large-scale development in the Hunter. It needs to recognise the importance of independent and objective environmental assessment, including proper consultation.”

“Newcastle Greens is not opposed to Austeel per se, but have always believed it should be constructed on an existing brown field site, not a green field site,” Cr McKenzie said.

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