Newcastle, Australia

As my pal Rabih (over at SkyscraperCity) perfectly pointed out: “it’s been a busy 24 hours for bigots in Newcastle, Australia news rooms“.

Speaking at a Hunter Valley Research Foundation function at state Parliament yesterday, Infrastructure NSW chairman and former Liberal premier Nick Greiner issued a blunt assessment of the central business district of NSW’s second city [Newcastle] as “looking a bit like Beirut on a bad Friday night”.

“So you’ve got a choice. You leave the CBD looking a bit like Beirut on a bad Friday night, or you get rid of the rail line. I do think it’s as simple as that.”

The Herald also decides to spice things up with a poll on the topic. Here is the question:

Nick Greiner says Newcastle looks ‘‘a bit like Beirut on a bad Friday night’’. Is he being unfair?

Here are your choices and the results (at the time of my posting):

  • No, the CBD looks like a war zone. (49.1%)
  • Yes, I love our CBD and see its potential. (23.2%)
  • Yes, unfair to Beirut. (27.7%)

Anyone else furious? Oh but of course it gets better.

Newcastle Liberal MP Tim Owen says he would not compare the inner-city to Beirut, but agrees with former Premier Nick Greiner that the rail line removal will be a catalyst for renewal.

MP Tim Owen “has concerns” on what is happening on the streets of Newcastle but wouldn’t go as far as comparing it to Beirut. Furious yet? But wait, there’s still more.

Australia’s ABC has two photos comparing Beirut to Newcastle. Here’s an undated photo of Beirut (I’m assuming taken in 2006) with no context whatsoever:

ABC: Rubble in Beirut

ABC: Rubble in Beirut

And here’s their photo of Newcastle:

ABC: Newcastle's inner city at night

ABC: Newcastle's inner city at night

Angry yet?

Downtown Beirut - November 2007 -- via Wikipedia

Downtown Beirut - November 2007 -- via Wikipedia