Plea to use Newcastle Port lease to upgrade City Hall knocked back

A PUSH to ask the state government to use the lease of Newcastle Port to pay for urgent Newcastle City Hall upgrades has been blocked by Liberal councillors.

Labor councillors want $20.5 million from the 98-year lease to pay for the hall restoration.

The lease of the port is expected to generate up to $700 million and the state government has guaranteed that $340 million will be spent on the Newcastle CBD revitalisation.

Newcastle City Council received a $7.5 million loan from the government to fix the hall's clock tower but needs $20.5 million to fix the rest.

Labor councillor Stephanie Posniak said the port's lease was a "one-off opportunity" and fixing up city hall was big step in reducing the infrastructure budget backlog, estimated at more than $97 million.

Independent councillor Andrea Rufo said the plan had merit but the council needed to be systematic in its approach in asking for money from state and federal governments.

Independent Lord Mayor Jeff McCloy agreed, stating the motion was "unprofessional".

Greens councillor Therese Doyle predicted that the $340 million promised to Newcastle would be spent on "state responsibilities", such as removing heavy rail from the CBD, and the council would receive nothing.

The motion for the city hall refurbishment was defeated 7-6.

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