Socialists pledge to hold Newcastle Council to account

Homelessness is a growing problem in Newcastle.

“We need to hold Labor to its election commitments following their win in the Newcastle Council elections,” Steve O’Brien said after the new council was inaugurated late last year.

O’Brien was the Socialist Alliance’s (SA) lead candidate for Ward 1 Councillor and Lord Mayor.

Labor won seven of the 13 councillor positions and Nuatali Nelmes was re-elected Lord Mayor. She reiterated Labor’s promise to prioritise housing affordability, climate change and urban renewal.

The Greens also polled well: Charlotte McCabe in Ward 2 joined Ward 1 Councillor John McKenzie.

An early test for Labor will be whether it supports a five-year extension to the annual SuperCars race. As one prominent restaurateur noted recently, the SuperCars outfit was like a “vacuum cleaner” which sucked up every available dollar and froze out locals.

During the campaign, O’Brien noted that the $30 million wasted on the race had diverted resources from the problem of homelessness. He said it was inconsistent with council’s climate emergency policy.

The ongoing pandemic has also raised fears that the SuperCars race scheduled for March will be a super spreader event.

SA’s team of O’Brien, Samantha Ashby and Darcie Lemmich won 3.8% (884 votes) in Ward 1. O’Brien won 1.9% (1940 votes) for Mayor.

SA will continue its work with community groups, to ensure that Labor keeps its promises. “We received good support for our ideas, including from Labor which seemed to adopt some. Labor has few excuses not to deliver on its promises, in particular making affordable housing available.”