1 November 2010
The Member for Newcastle Jodi McKay’s announcement on Friday about a new state urban renewal policy that will apply to the Newcastle CBD demonstrates everything that is wrong with the approach of the current NSW Labor government to planning in Newcastle and NSW, according to The Greens candidate for Newcastle, John Sutton.
“Ms McKay chose to announce the new planning policy at the general meeting of the Hunter Business Chamber,” Mr Sutton said.
“Comments reported in the media by the Hunter Regional Director of the Property Council, Kristen Keegan, indicated that she was familiar with details of the proposed plan.
“But, whilst these business and development bodies have been given privileged access to information about a state government planning instrument that the Minister for Planning, Tony Kelly, states has not even been published yet, the general community will apparently be locked out of the process until the formal exhibition period,” Mr Sutton said.
“Planning policies such as this are specifically designed to override local planning controls such as Newcastle Council’s Local Environmental Plan and Development Control Plan, and to shift decisions about developments in the Newcastle CBD from local elected representatives accountable to the Newcastle community, to Sydney-based and appointed decision-makers such as the Minister for Planning.
“Once again, Ms McKay has made it abundantly clear who she and NSW Labor regards as inside and outside the tent in relation to development decisions.
“True to form, this revitalisation plan seems to have been developed with and for developers, and will be rubber stamped in Macquarie Street by NSW Labor powerbrokers acting as the ciphers and thralls of developers,” Mr Sutton said.
“The real discussion and decisions on this policy have obviously already occurred behind closed doors, and it will now go through the usual token, tick-the-box public consultation process that will be mostly ignored by NSW Labor.
“The Greens would welcome any plan that seriously addresses the need for urban renewal in Newcastle,” Mr Sutton said.
“However, Ms McKay and the NSW Labor government need to learn from past mistakes, and accept that the city belongs to the whole community, not just property developers.
“This is a time to re-establish local democracy in planning, and to bring the Newcastle community together, not to exacerbate old divisions or to reinforce the established culture of NSW Labor’s cosy relationship with vested interests, Mr Sutton said.
For further information or comment, please contact John Sutton (Greens candidate for Newcastle), on 4969 2668 or 0411 154 004.