Sunday, July 26, 2009

Open Letter to the NSW Planning Minister

The Email letter below and the attachments have been sent to the Minister for Planning the Hon. Kristina Keneally MP.

* What are the planning and development roles in the Hunter Region that have been given over to the HDC?

* Why did the HDC fail in the past to vary their Approved Scheme in accordance with their statutory obligations?

* What regional representation on the Board has been provided for?

* What actions have been taken by the Board to meet their statutory obligation to their total Growth Centre as constituted?

* What is needed to make their actions responsive and more transparent to the regional electorate?

The public interest requires that these matters are professionally and transparently investigated and publicly resolved.

The rail issue was made intractable by the failure of the HDC to comply with Hunter REP Central Honeysuckle amendment 3 over the past decade and HDC’s apparent unwillingness or to respond to the Government or the people of the region. This has been made worse by the recent HDC Revitalisation Report being so biased in considering the role of the railway and provision of passenger rail services to historic Newcastle without any consideration of their obligation to the Growth Centre as constituted for the region. HDC has allowed rail crossings and overbridges to be removed and not replaced and criticises lack of connectivity.

P& PM resolved at its last meeting to request the Minister to hold an inquiry or for the parliament to hold an Legislative Council inquiry into the HDC.

July 26, 2009

The Hon Kristina Keneally MP
Minister for Planning & Minister for Waterloo

Dear Minister,

Reference is made to my Email on 12/5/2009 and your kind acknowledgment and your letter dated 3 July 09 - D09/2844

Our Email 12/5/2009 Email read:

You can readily understand how this cut rail stupidity which has gone on since the Newcastle Earthquake 20 years ago has destabilised the city and damaged the ALP in its heartland. The enclosed letter reveals how this situation developed. It is in your power as Minister for Planning to direct that a legal varying scheme be developed by HDC and approved. This is essential if this matter is to be properly resolved.

Minister, the Parks and Playground Movement was pleased to receive you letter which we believe means that you have directed the HDC to submit a varying scheme in accordance with the Growth Centre (Development Corporations) Act 1974.

Newcastle had been poorly served by the HDC Honeysuckle Board operating without a proper Scheme even after the Minister Craig Knowles made Hunter REP 1989 Amendment 3 Central Honeysuckle Dec 1997. We were outraged when we heard recently that the Minister for the Hunter had asked the HDC Hunter to prepare a renewal report for Newcastle. We knew that HDC had no legal scheme for their Growth Centre which as you know includes every Local Government Area in the Region.

Since our Email the HDC has displayed a report titled Newcastle City Centre Renewal Report to NSW Government March 2009 and we are pleased to attached a pdf file of our letter to the Hon Jodi Mckay MP Minister for the Hunter. We ask you to consider our letter to the Minister for the Hunter as a submission to the HDC report.

Parks and Playgrounds Movement request that you initiate an inquiry into why the HDC did not comply with the strategic direction of the Hunter REP 3 Central Honeysuckle made by the Minister for Planning in Dec 1997 and why the HDC (Hunter) did not prepare a scheme for the Growth Centre as required by statute when they were constituted by parliament.

Furthermore we would be grateful if you would direct that the HDC Board act in a transparent way and seek the views of the people of the Hunter Region when preparing the their revised Scheme for the Hunter Region Growth Centre as set out in the Schedule 1 of the Growth Centres (Development Corporations) Act 1974 Viz. Hunter Development Corporation: All those pieces or parcels of land within the local government areas of Cessnock, Dungog, Gloucester, Great Lakes, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Muswellbrook, Newcastle, Port Stephens, Singleton and Upper Hunter as at 1 January 2008.

Parks and Playgrounds Movement would be pleased to participate in the preparation of a Scheme with the HDC and to place evidence before a public inquiry into failure of the Corporation to comply with the REP Central Honeysuckle or prepare a Scheme for approval.

We trust that you will enquire into HDC so that they are better able to fulfil their statutory responsibilities to the Hunter Region in the future.

Yours Sincerely

Doug Lithgow
Parks and Playgrounds Movement Inc.

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