Shellharbour City Hub politics broaden in state petition

Shellharbour MP Anna Watson says the Stop The Hub community group is entitled to continue with its campaign to oppose Shellharbour City Council's $57 million City Hub proposal, but it "should stop trying to drag other levels of government into what is now a blatant partisan political campaign".

Last week Kiama MP Gareth Ward "condemned" Ms Watson for using Parliament to "intimidate and bully the community" after Ms Watson placed a question on notice to the Minister for Local Government asking for "the names of the individuals and community organisations who have written to him or signed a petition in relation to the Shellharbour City Hub project".

Ms Watson said in a meeting with Stop the Hub representatives, they had indicated many people were opposed to the proposal and had made contact with the minister's office. She had asked a simple question to ascertain if the claim was accurate.

Shellharbour MP Anna Watson.

Shellharbour MP Anna Watson.

However, Diane Quinlin, convener of the Stop The Hub group, said "this is blatantly wrong".

"This claim is not accurate, as the claim was never made," Ms Quinlin said.

"We told her many people are opposed to the hub but we did not say that they are contacting the minister.

"That is the point of the petition.

"We asked if she would write to the minister, but Ms Watson and her assistant Gino Mandarino both said 'it would be a waste of time, this is a local council matter and the state government cannot intervene'."

Ms Quinlin questioned what Ms Watson planned to do with the list of 6000 to 7000 signatures when the petition was tabled in Parliament.

"Will she assure that she will not contact any of the petition signers, [and] will not provide copies of the names and addresses to her ALP friends at Shellharbour council?"

Ms Watson said the meeting with three Stop the Hub representatives on February 21 was "an amicable exchange of views on the hub proposal".

"I did indicate that it would be pointless tabling a petition in the NSW Parliament on the hub issue because the Parliament and the NSW government have no involvement in this proposal.

"I was asked if I would write to the minister on behalf of the Stop The Hub group, and I indicated I would be happy to do so.

"As a local MP, I am entitled to ask the Minister for Local Government any question I wish."

Ms Watson said the group needed to convince only seven people - the Shellharbour councillors.