MR – Council hides in the dark on coal

Newcastle City Council is burying its head in the sand on the
potential impact of coal on the community and the role and
responsibilities of local government, according to Newcastle Greens
councillor Michael Osborne.

The council this week rejected Councillor Osborne’s call for a scoping
report that would examine the potential impact of planned massive
increases in coal transport through the Newcastle local government

Councillor Osborne was the only councillor to vote in favour of the motion.

“It’s a depressing indicator of just how far away from reality the
current council has drifted,” Councillor Osborne said.

“My motion pointed out that the massive and unprecedented increase in
coal exports planned for the port of Newcastle has direct implications
for council (in terms of infrastructure maintenance, traffic
management, and planning), but the other councillors demonstrated that
they would rather not even know about what these impacts might be.

“It was a classic case of ‘see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil’,” he said.

“This just reinforces the unfortunate and increasing perception in the
local community that this council gives a higher priority to personal
in-fighting than it does to issues of real importance,” Councillor
Osborne said.

“Some of the comments from councillors during the debate were
extraordinary,” he said.

“One councillor (Clr Scott Sharpe) went so far as to claim that coal
had no impact on the Newcastle community!

“I get a very different impression from the people I talk to in my
local community, who are concerned about dust, noise and vibration
impacts from coal transport and coal loading operations,” Councillor
Osborne said.

“It’s time that Newcastle councillors took a reality check and started
dealing with the big public policy challenges that face our
community,” Councillor Osborne said.

Contact:    Michael Osborne 0439 442984 or 4940 8149

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