Greens welcome civic campus announcement

8 March 2012

State government must now answer public transport challenge

The Greens today welcomed the announcement of plans by the University of Newcastle to locate its inner-city campus on public land in the Civic Precinct.

“Newcastle Greens have been saying for many years that a city campus located in the traditional Newcastle CBD is logical from both an educational and economic sense, and would become a key driver for Newcastle’s revitalisation, and consolidate the regional status of the Newcastle city centre,” The Greens Lord Mayoral candidate for Newcastle, John Sutton, said.

“If it comes to fruition, this will be the culmination of the long-term forethought of former councils (mostly during the 1990s) who acquired the land in the civic block (bounded by Auckland, Hunter, Burwood and King Streets) precisely to facilitate a major development like this that would significantly influence the future of the city.

“This is an excellent example of why we need long term vision and strategic planning.

“The proposed university campus in this location should provide a wonderful inner-city learning environment for future students, and generate the kind of flow-on economic activity that will stimulate the revitalisation of the city’s commercial core.”

Mr Sutton said that The Greens had been concerned about previous announcements for establishing a city campus that had focussed on a site in the Honeysuckle area, and would have further fragmented the CBD revitalisation effort by locating a key economic driver outside the area most needing revitalisation.

Mr Sutton said that he hoped that the final civic site development was able to adhere to the relevant planning requirements for the site, including building height, and that it would end the long-running vested-interest campaign by local developers to cut the city’s rail line.

“This announcement shows exactly why the city needs to retain the inter-city (and inter-campus) transport connectivity that our rail line provides, and the proximity of Civic Station to the proposed city campus will become a key asset for future students and others who will need to travel to the area.

“In fact, public transport links to future developments in the Civic Precinct (which also includes the new law courts) will be vital in alleviating the car-parking crisis that is already looming for the area.

“The state government must now give serious attention to this public transport challenge, so that bus and rail services work to assist, rather than hamper, the city’s revitalisation,” Mr Sutton said.

For further information or comment, contact John Sutton (Greens Lord Mayoral and Ward 4 candidate) on 0411 154 004.

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