Show us port masterplan: councillor – Newcastle Herald

BY BEN SMEE CIVIC REPORTER

07 Jun, 2011 04:00 AM

GREENS councillor Michael Osborne is calling for the release of a state government masterplan for the port of Newcastle as part of a push to establish a freight rail link to the former BHP site.

Cr Osborne has tabled a notice of motion for tonight’s Newcastle City Council meeting, calling on the state and federal governments

to link the BHP site to Sandgate junction by rail before any proposed redevelopment occurs.

The contents of the masterplan, which is expected to be placed on public exhibition later this year, have been a tightly kept secret.

Cr Osborne said a comprehensive planning strategy would be needed to help guide the development of the BHP site, Steel River, the proposed terminal 4 coal-loader, and other sites.

The Newcastle Port Corporation has concept plans for a container terminal at the former BHP steelworks site, while Nathan Tinkler-backed developer Buildev has flagged an application for a coal-loader there.

Cr Osborne said the plans also required a rail link.

‘‘Newcastle Port Corporation have predicted that when the precincts are fully developed, each year 800,000 containers, 1010million litres of fuel and 3.1million tonnes of other products will be transported through Newcastle by road,’’ Cr Osborne said.

‘‘They need to put in infrastructure up front.’’

Cr Osborne’s said the portside rail plan would mesh perfectly with a proposed freight rail bypass, and a freight hub planned at Beresfield.

His motion also calls on the state government to duplicate the Tourle Street Bridge and to monitor dust in suburbs surrounding the port.

Cr Osborne also wants to invite the Newcastle Port Corporation, Port Waratah Coal Services and Buildev to address the council about their port plans.

A spokesman for Ports Minister Duncan Gay had not responded to requests for comment about the masterplan or the rail plan by the close of business yesterday.