The Greens’ vision for Newcastle – October 2014 by-elections

Newcastle has been embarrassed nationally by the revelations of ICAC, which have revealed deep cultural flaws in both of the major parties. This means that locals are now required to vote in at least two extra by-elections.

The October State by-election will not change the state government, BUT, it is a great opportunity for locals to send a strong message about what THEY want for our city.

Your vote for Michael Osborne will really make Labor and the Liberals take notice, as they are already held to account by The Greens’ five current Members of NSW Parliament and a strong presence at Council level.

A vision for Newcastle

Newcastle needs planning that puts people before a few rich developers and it needs development that respects our unique skyline.
We need public transport that encourages people to eat, play and work in town while connecting our region.
We need to enhance our capacity for world-class innovation to capitalise on the clean energy economy, and encourage our arts talent to create a vibrant city that attracts more visitors.
We need a city whose future is not determined by Sydney but is driven by our community.Now, more than ever, Newcastle needs clean politics.

How we can get there

Newcastle Greens and Michael Osborne (a city Councillor for the past seven years) have developed a four-step action plan for Newcastle.

Step 1: To rebuild the city, begin with solid foundations

Development in the Newcastle CBD is being held back by the need to fill historical mine workings under the city before development above three stories can take place. This puts unfair costs on developers who are the first to develop areas in the city. To get over this obstacle to revitalisation of the city the Greens propose to:

  • Develop a precinct-based strategy to grout the historical mine workings of the Newcastle CBD. The need for cavity grouting has been identified as a key obstacle for investment in the inner city because site remediation costs can range into the millions, limiting the viability of restoration and development, creating uncertain costs, uninsurable risks and unmanageable delays.
  • Fund the grouting work in priority precincts by recovering the money from the sale of our port. A revolving fund can then be replenished by a developer levy shared among property owners and/or developers who benefit from the rehabilitation. This fund will then finance the grouting of more precincts.

Step 2: You can’t have transition without transit

Newcastle Greens call for an integrated public transport and roads network that services Newcastle residents and surrounding communities through the creation of an independent regional transport authority. This would end the piecemeal Sydney-driven approach that has done Newcastle few favours. The Greens propose to:

  • Retain and improve the existing rail service into Newcastle together with landscaping of the rail line and the re-installation of safe, controlled level crossings at appropriate points to improve links between the city and foreshore – subject to the technical requirements of train timetabling.
  • Immediately duplicate Tourle Street Bridge and Cormorant Road to match the multi-lane routes either side of that bottleneck.
  • Expand the ferry services operating between Stockton and the CBD to incorporate Carrington, Honeysuckle and Wickham.
  • Deliver the CycleSafe Network as a system of safe, easy-to-follow cycle routes connecting key destinations across Newcastle and Lake Macquarie.
  • Create fast, regular, direct public transport links between Newcastle airport and the CBD.

Step 3: Bring out our creative side

Newcastle’s large and growing population of artists and creative industry professionals can be better supported to build community connectedness and to stimulate enterprise and tourism. Strong links have been shown between a city’s creative richness and its economic strength. Greens will:

  • Foster and support creative artists, particularly those in local and small-scale artistic endeavours like TINA, Octapod, Shootout Film Festival, Renew Newcastle and the Community Arts Centre, to name just a few.
  • Provide dedicated funding for redevelopment and operation of Newcastle’s Art Gallery.
  • Develop an enabling regulatory framework that encourages a varied mix of venues, creating a diverse, safe and welcoming night time culture including small bars and music venues.
  • Support initiatives by local business associations that aim to make village shopping areas more vibrant and active.

Step 4: Take Newcastle to the world

In 2011, Lonely Planet rated Newcastle in the top 10 cities in the world to visit. With preserved heritage buildings, a cheap and reliable train service, world-class beaches, friendly locals and revitalised cultural institutions we can reach the heights that gained that status again.
A stronger tourism and hospitality sector will provide much needed economic diversity independent of the ups and downs of the coal industry. Greens want to:

  • Reinstate the Newcastle Tourist Information Centre.
  • Boost funding for Visit Newcastle to promote tourism.
  • Conduct a feasibility study to construct a cruise liner terminal in Newcastle Harbour closely linked with the CBD and Newcastle Railway Station.
  • Build fast, regular, direct public transport links between the new Newcastle international airport and the CBD.
  • Develop campervan/RV-friendly parking, camping and rest stop areas to attract this growing class of tourists.

On the national stage The Greens work hard to build for a more caring and fair society, protecting our environment, creating jobs in renewable energy, and a strong, world-class education system to put Australia ahead in the brains race. In Newcastle we can do the same.
What sort of future do YOU want?

Vote 1 Michael Osborne for The Greens

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