This is a story about power and protest.
In 2017, the failing Supercars motor racing finale was moved from the Sydney Olympic Park to Newcastle East.
The evidence gathered in these pages details the lack of due process, at every stage and every level, in the staging of this event.
Newcastle’s councillors made their decision to welcome Supercars on the basis of newspaper clippings instead of a business case. Destination NSW based their case on impossible visitor estimates and TV audience projections, choosing to engage in hype rather than perform their role as protectors of the public interest.
Wrong Track was written when the Newcastle East Residents Group realised they had no one to represent the interests of those adversely impacted. With the help of a team of legal, medical and technical experts, members sought information through freedom of information requests and undertook their own research.
What the book reveals is a culture of cronyism, going back to the Homebush Supercars event and the special legislation passed by Ian Macdonald to construct a motor racing circuit through the Sydney Olympic Park. Putting Ian Macdonald behind bars did not destroy this culture. Rather, it is more effective than ever and has crossed the political floor.
Auditor-generals have been reluctant to make the call of government collusion in the case of motor-racing events – but they have come close. In the case of the Newcastle 500, the tactics used to roll Newcastle Council illustrates the close ties that exist between the NSW government and the event promoters. This network of ‘mates’ is hidden behind unsurpassed levels of secrecy and deliberately deceptive information.
Newcastle East’s heritage streetscape and public parks have essentially been taken over for the profits of a private company for the 10 weeks every year Supercars is in town.
This book shines a light onto the political machinations that allowed this event to happen in such an inappropriate place and reveals a way of doing government business which is becoming all too familiar in the state of NSW.
Read the Wrong Track Book
Purchase or download the Wrong Track book outlining the Newcastle 500 experience and the government deals that were made.
This article was published in the SUBSCRIBER-only section of the Newcastle Herald on 31st August 2019. It questions the CoN race review and demonstrates how the numbers were inflated.read more
1. The Newcastle Herald revealed last year that there was a significant discrepancy in the attendance figures provided by Supercars for the 2017 event and those obtained from the Telstra data that was used for the evaluation by the Hunter Research Foundation (HRF) on...read more
Prior to the first event in November 2017, Newcastle council passed a unanimous motion to: Engage an independent, expert third party to undertake an evaluation and event impact assessment to assess the social, economic and environmental benefits and costs associated...read more
While suburban road projects stagnate and stall, the new roads constructed for the race must be resurfaced repeatedly at rate-payers’ expense. CoN has had to rebuild some sections of the track three times since the first race in November 2017.read more
“A tree replacement program for the Newcastle Foreshore precinct aims to create a greener, more usable and more accessible public space for everyone to enjoy.” Well, just how is this greener and more useable public space coming along?read more