Today’s release of the draft Newcastle Port strategy is an opportunity for people in the Hunter to urge a shift away from coal dependence and the Greens will be encouraging community members to put in submissions, said Greens Senator and transport spokesperson Lee Rhiannon and Greens Newcastle Councillor Michael Osborne.
Senator Rhiannon said: “The development of Newcastle Port in the coming years will shape the future of the Hunter and will drive whether the region is locked into dependence on dirty coal or looks to other manufacturing and higher-value industries that are less detrimental to the health of locals and potentially more jobs-rich.”
“Figures released by Newcastle Port Corporation show that while coal accounts for 95% of the volume of port trade, it only accounts for about 75% of the value of the port trade. There is clearly space for other industries to develop that could boost the local economy.
“Newcastle Port Corporation chief executive Gary Webb has said he is striving to balance the commercial needs of the port with the needs of residents. Taking into account the impact of coal dust on health is a good place to start.
“The Greens will be encouraging community members to engage in the draft strategy and put forward a future for Newcastle Port that is not locked into fossil fuel reliance and does not need the unpopular forth coal terminal”, said Senator Rhiannon.
Cr Michael Osborne said: "Newcastle residents living near the Port will be disappointed that the Port Corp has failed to include any definite plan for a Portside railway in their development.
"The community is concerned about the number of freight trucks going through our suburbs. This freight should be transported on a dedicated rail line.
"It is good that the Port Corp has finally recognised the need to duplicate Cornorant Road and Tourle Street bridge," Cr Osborne said.
Details for how to make a submission to the Draft Strategic Development Plan are here: http://newcastleportplan.com.au/