The Newcastle council has rejected a Greens councillor’s motion to withdraw support for the Newcastle 500 Supercars round.
The new-for-2017 street race has caused much controversy in the New South Wales town, with a group of vocal residents in the city’s East End against the street race.
The issue came to a head at a council meeting earlier this week, with Greens councillor Therese Doyle leading a motion to have the council withdraw its support, and to ‘urge Destination NSW and Supercars Australia to find a more appropriate venue for this race that does not disrupt or pose any significant health or safety risk to residents’.
Doyle’s case was built for public safety concerns was built on Nick Percat’s brake failure at the Australian Grand Prix, and the 12-car pile-up in Tasmania a fortnight later that saw Will Davison fracture a small bone in his back.
‘Two recent accidents involving Supercars indicate that the race should not take place in residential streets where there are young children, elderly, pets, vulnerable people, and cars running 3 metres from people’s front doors,’ read the Notice to Motion.
‘Given that these serious accidents have occurred at the immediate past two Supercar events, it is now clear that there is a completely unacceptable risk of ended up in the wall, accident or mishap when this type of race is scheduled to take place in the narrow, confined streets of Newcastle East.’
Doyle and fellow Greens councillor Michael Osborne also cited financial concerns as part of the motion.
However, the bid failed to attract any issue outside of Doyle and Osborne. The council didn’t support the resolution, with a report stating that ‘in almost three decades of staging Supercars street races in major cities, there has never been a serious injury to a member of the public or a situation in which an on-site medical situation could not be addressed. In Newcastle, world’s best practice will be applied’.
“The accidents that you’re referring to, there was no public hurt,” Liberal councillor Brad Luke was reported to have said during the meeting.
“The only damage done was to the cars.
“Those drivers got up and raced the next weekend. The participants take a risk, yes, that is a fact of life.”