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Supercars debate to heat up… again

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The race may be over but the Supercars debate – and another five-year contract in Newcastle – is about to heat up.

The existing deal, under the agreement between council, Supercars Australia and Destination NSW, ended when Shane van Gisbergen claimed the honours on 12 March.

Now, City of Newcastle (CN) has the tough task of deciding whether to undertake the hosting duties again.

While many pundits believe the event was another success, several sections of the community were unhappy with numerous aspects of the Newcastle 500.

The state of Foreshore Park, lack of parking in the CBD, noise, the length of setting up and packing down, general day-to-day disruptions and poor retail figures are among the key concerns.

A public forum, presented by the Newcastle East Residents Group (NERG) and supported by independent business organisation Makers x Traders of Newcastle, is scheduled to take place in the Banquet Room of Newcastle City Hall from 6.30pm on Monday 3 April.

The meeting will provide an opportunity for people to air their grievances.

“Everyone is welcome to attend,” a NERG spokesperson said.

“We’re also inviting councillors and members of parliament to hear Newcastle residents and business owners speak about the impacts on community health, the environment and local economy caused by the Newcastle 500.”

It was reported a combined total of 167,197 racegoers witnessed the three-day extravaganza, the highest attendance figure since the inaugural fixture in 2017.

But, that calculation is being questioned, too.

At CN’s ordinary meeting on Tuesday night, council supported an amended notice of motion noting that the CEO of Supercars has committed to providing a detailed breakdown of the ticketing for the 2023 Newcastle 500.

That information will then be provided to councillors and the community to enable CN to make a more informed conclusion on the economic effect for the city from staging the Newcastle 500.

However, this decision is only required if the NSW Government indicates it intends to support the race’s continuation for another five years.

CN also undertook a range of online, in-person and telephone surveys, through consultants KPMG, up until 5pm on 31 March.

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