Friday, 31 July 2009

How the Newcastle Herald reported the Minister's attack...

McKay, Greens trade shots over Newcastle rail line

31/07/2009 4:00:00 AM
A WAR of words has erupted between Minister for the Hunter Jodi McKay and the Newcastle Greens over the future of the rail line and revitalisation of the CBD.

Signs of mounting tension among business and political leaders have emerged over the plans, with the minister yesterday sounding off publicly about a blog written by Newcastle councillor Michael Osborne.

She dubbed the councillor's remarks "erroneous, misguided and a tragic example of policy on the run" in a media statement, after he praised the cabinet for not approving the plans at a meeting on Tuesday.

It followed revelations from sources close to the Government that cabinet was poised to approve the CBD revitalisation plans outlined by the Hunter Development Corporation, but became nervous and pushed its decision back to at least September.

Cr Osborne said in his blog that "to take such a proposal further will just make Newcastle and NSW the laughing stock of the nation".

Ms McKay responded by saying the issue was bigger than just the rail line.

"I hate to spoil Cr Osborne's party but no decision has been made," she said.

"Cr Osborne has a history of shooting from the hip and his hasty statements clearly indicate that his policy position is not worth the lemon squash coaster it's written on."

Cr Osborne responded by saying he was surprised the minister had "made it so personal" and that he did welcome other parts of the report, such as plans to bring university facilities into the city.

Newcastle Lord Mayor John Tate said yesterday that in a meeting in Canberra last month Federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese had encouraged him to "get your submission in".

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