THE majority of Newcastle people who responded to a council Supercars survey are not in favour of the Newcastle 500 returning to the city for another five years, according to a report published over the weekend.
The Newcastle 500 Community Consultation Insights Report, drafted by consultancy firm KPMG, found only 37 per cent of Newcastle LGA residents who completed the online survey would support the decision for Newcastle to continue to host the event.
While 55 per cent of residents who completed the phone survey were in support of the Newcastle 500 continuing in the city for another five years, the sample size of those two surveys was not equal: nearly 11,000 people filled out the online survey, while 490 people agreed to a phone survey.
There had been concerns about the integrity of the data and reports of people filling out multiple responses and entering fake details online. And the report noted that, according to 2021 census data, the population in Newcastle East is 1061 residents, while the number of online survey responses from Newcastle East was 964.
"As it is unusual to receive this number of responses relative to population size, it is likely that some respondents used incorrect postcodes or made multiple submissions," the report says.
Overall, between online, phone, in-person surveys with event attendees and focus groups, more than 17,500 people gave their thoughts on the event continuing in Newcastle, with a consistent theme being that the positive sentiment towards the Newcastle 500 increased the further you went from the race track in Newcastle East.
Those surveyed in Ward 1 and 2 were more likely to say they did not support the event returning to the city, while there was the most support for the event in Ward 4 (66 per cent phone, 67 per cent online).
According to the data, the positives of the event were that it promoted Newcastle as a tourism destination and had some economic benefit for the city and its business. While the disruption caused by the bump-in and bump-out periods - the installation and removal of the racing circuit - were the biggest drawback for the event.
When discussing the benefits and drawbacks, 60 per cent of those who completed the survey online across the Newcastle LGA did not agree that the benefits outweigh the disruption.
The overall numbers were similar in relation to the Newcastle business community's support for the continuation of the Newcastle 500.
Across the Newcastle LGA, 59 per cent of phone respondents and 41 per cent of online respondents were supportive of Newcastle remaining as host. Again, the online survey responses far outweighed the phone responses - 1,906 to 110.
City of Newcastle had asked residents to have their say on Supercars to gauge interest in the event returning to the city for another five years.
The City of Newcastle have said no decision could be made about again hosting the Newcastle 500 until the NSW government first considers its funding for the event and agrees to extend with Supercars.
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