Kiama MP favoured to table City Hub petition

Gareth Ward and Anna Watson.

Gareth Ward and Anna Watson.

The Stop the Hub Community Group has confirmed its preference for Kiama MP Gareth Ward to table its 10,000-signature petition in Parliament.

On Monday, Stop the Hub convener Diane Quinlin said the group's preference was to have Mr Ward present the petition as Shellharbour MP Anna Watson had been "negative" about their campaign.

However Mr Ward said Ms Watson should be asked out of "professional courtesy".

The petition calls on the NSW government to stop the construction of the $57 million City Hub and the sale of community assets to fund the project.

Ms Quinlin said the group met with Anna Watson when the petition had reached 5000 signatures.

"Anna Watson was polite, but very negative and said our efforts were futile," Ms Quinlin said.

"About a month later we had a meeting with Gareth Ward.

"He articulated that he was against the construction of the City Hub and he would be an advocate for the objective of the petition."

Ms Quinlin said once debated in the NSW Parliament the matter would be referred to the Minister for Local Government, Paul Toole, to investigate the matter.

Ms Quinlin said the group wanted scrutiny of "the flawed processes" involved, saying there was a predetermined outcome to favour the hub and the "opulence of the City Hub to the detriment of present and future projects for Shellharbour City".

"We believe that once this is made public, the state government should stop the construction of the City Hub," Ms Quinlin said.

"It is both insulting and patronising of Anna Watson to suggest that both the Stop the Hub Community Group and the people who signed the petition were in any way influenced by Gareth Ward.

"They signed the petition because they consider the City Hub a waste of money.

"The decision has been made that we will ask Gareth Ward to table our petition and not Anna Watson as he is considered the better person to represent the petition's case."

Ms Watson said Mr Ward had been exposed "for raising the expectations of the Stop The Hub group in private meetings and now faces a very big dilemma".

"Ten thousand signatories to the petition expect that the state government will now actually stop the hub's construction," Ms Watson said.

"Mr Ward thinks they'll be satisfied with yet another one of his empty, hot-air speeches in Parliament.

"In fact, they've made very clear in black and white that they expect the state government will stop the hub's construction."

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