Community deserves more than ‘business-as-usual’ for the Port

5 April 2012

Cr Michael Osborne has today called for the State Government to freeze consideration of the Port Waratah Coal Services 4th Coal Terminal project proposal until it finalises a Newcastle Port Strategic Development Plan.

“The State Government will be considering the T4 proposal from Port Waratah Coal Services in a policy vacuum because they haven’t finalised a Strategic Development Plan for the Newcastle Port,” Cr Osborne said.

“At the first Newcastle Port Community Forum that I facilitated in December last year, the community were clear in that they want to see a proper Strategic Development Plan for the Newcastle Port that broadened economic opportunities away from coal, improved environmental and health outcomes for those living near the Port and equipped the region with first class transport infrastructure,” Cr Osborne said

“This transport infrastructure must include the development of the Mayfield Port-side rail line, the duplication of the Tourle St bridge and Cormorant Road,” Cr Osborne said.

“We know that prime agricultural land has not been protected and regional communities have been let down badly by the State Government’s insistence on facilitating the growth of coal mining and coal seam gas exploration.  Both of these industries are unsustainable, economically volatile and the major contributors to a contaminated environment,” Cr Osborne said.

“The community deserves and expects a commitment from State Government that it will change its ‘business as usual’ approach,” Cr Osborne said.

Cr Osborne will be facilitating a second Newcastle Port Community Forum at Mayfield Bowling Club, 3a Ingall St. Mayfield, next Wednesday 11 April 2012 at 7.30pm. Guest speakers will be Greens MPs Jeremy Buckingham MLC and Cate Faehrmann MLC and a spokesperson from the Lock The Gate Alliance. All the community are invited to attend and are requested to RSVP to Megan Benson at megabens@gmail.com or phone 4997 6522.

“Local residents have been let down by successive state governments who have failed to develop an integrated strategy for the Port of Newcastle,” Cr Osborne said.

“A community Planning Forum for the future of the Port of Newcastle is exactly what the Newcastle Port Corporation and the Department of Planning should have organised,” Cr Michael Osborne said.

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