The Newcastle East Residents Group (NERG) will be in celebration mode today after Supercars Australia (SA) cancelled the Newcastle 500 from its 2024 program.
It’s understood SA chief operating officer Shane Howard informed Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes of its decision on Thursday 19 October.
The NSW Government had committed to funding a one-year extension, while a longer-term deal was being negotiated.
However, opposition to the event, from community groups such as NERG and Newcastle state MP Tim Crakanthorp, placed City of Newcastle (CN) in a no-win situation.
Thousands of people packed City Hall in April, stating they did not want the high-profile race – which attracted 167,197 fans in 2023 – to return to the CBD.
Their concerns ranged from poor trade figures to health impacts, lack of parking to the length of setting up and packing down, noise issues to CO2 emissions, general day-to-day disruptions to an undesirable experience for retailers.
A CN survey also revealed 59% of online respondents were against council from accepting a five-year contract.
“An event of this size and scale would have to be supported by local state MPs for it to ever go ahead, so the decision really does rest with the NSW government,” Cr Nelmes told ABC Radio.
But, the Newcastle Supercar Supporters Club threw the blame back on council.
“It’s very disappointing news,” it posted on Facebook.
“Our elected Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes and her council must be held accountable for their incompetence.
“They have let Newcastle and the Hunter down.”
In a statement issued on Thursday, Supercars said it conducted productive discussions with City of Newcastle earlier this week, regarding the future of the event.
“As part of that discussion, it was mentioned that in the event Newcastle cannot proceed in 2024, alternative options have been explored,” it stated.
“We express our gratitude to the NSW Government for their continuous support and understanding.
“Supercars would like to confirm its commitment to racing in Newcastle in the future… and conversations in that regard are already underway.
“Regarding the 2024 season opening event, Supercars will provide information when all details are confirmed.”
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