Wrangle over City Hub petition

Artist's impression of the proposed Shellharbour City Hub.
Artist's impression of the proposed Shellharbour City Hub.

Stop the Hub convener Diane Quinlin said collecting 10,000 signatures for a petition was the easy part.

"The hardest thing is getting someone to present it," she said.

Last week, the Stop the Hub Community Group confirmed its preference that Kiama MP Gareth Ward table its petition in Parliament, as Shellharbour MP Anna Watson had been "negative" about its campaign.

However, Mr Ward - who said he was happy to table the petition - said Ms Watson should be asked out of "professional courtesy" to table the petition, as Shellharbour City Council's proposed $57 million City Hub project would be located in her electorate.

Stop the Hub members met Ms Watson on Friday

"I indicated that I was more than happy to formally table the petition," Ms Watson said.

However, the offer came with a catch.

Ms Watson said she was "surprised" to learn no representatives of the Stop the Hub group had formally met the council to discuss their concerns with the proposed project.

"Both the council and Stop the Hub delegation should be prepared to talk through their concerns face-to-face ... if the talks between council and the Stop the Hub delegation conclude with continued opposition to the proposed project, it remains my intention to present the petition," Ms Watson said.

Ms Watson said Mr Ward had "been exposed for raising the expectations of the Stop the Hub group".

Mr Ward said he agreed with the hub opponents that the project would leave future generations "laden with debt".

However, he never said the petition would "stop the hub".

"It will facilitate a discussion ... people have worked hard to collect the signatures for the petition and deserve to have their voice heard," Mr Ward said.

Ms Quinlin said the Stop the Hub group members would meet on Saturday to discuss the issues raised.

"We just need someone to present it and Gareth will do so if Anna refuses," Ms Quinlin said.

Ms Watson said she had again made it clear in the meeting that the State Parliament would not intervene to stop the Shellharbour City Hub project from proceeding.

"This issue will be resolved only by seven councillors, democratically elected to serve on Shellharbour City Council, as has always been my consistent position on this controversial issue," Ms Watson said.

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