Newcastle council gags high-rise debate

DEBATE in council chambers about planned high-rises for Newcastle has been snuffed out again, despite repeated attempts from several Newcastle councillors.

Labor and the Greens councillors were keen to invite the Newcastle Inner City Residents Alliance to the council chambers and brief the council on their concerns regarding the size, scope and height of the proposed plans by GPT and Urban Growth.

But Liberal and independent councillors voted to postpone the debate indefinitely, with mayor Jeff McCloy using his casting vote to break the deadlock.

Labor councillor Stephanie Pozniak asked Liberal councillor Brad Luke why he thought it was OK to be briefed by the developers but not by the community.

Cr Luke said it had become "unlawful", as the Joint Regional Planning Panel would be in charge of the submission, and not the council.

Labor councillor Nuatali Nelmes questioned Cr Luke's involvement in the matter in council chambers, as he was also the council's representative on the Joint Regional Planning Panel.

A motion of dissent was moved by the Greens and Labor against the decision to lay the matter on the table, but it failed.

Greens councillor Therese Doyle also submitted an urgency motion for the council's report for the panel be considered before the council, but council general manager Ken Gouldthorp rejected the request.

Cr Doyle said the council's resources were being spent on a report to be given to the planning panel and there was considerable community interest in the report.

She said that her rights as a local councillor to carry out her responsibilities was being brought into question.

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