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Businessman sees red before polling day

Illawarra Mercury

Monday March 21, 2011

By BEN LANGFORD

AS LABOR struggles to retain its once-safe seats in the Illawarra a harsh message painted on Wollongong's main street has become a sign of the times.As commuters drive into the city along Crown St this morning they will be confronted by a shopfront painted with the words "Labor is corrupt" in large red letters. It is not graffiti but the work of a lawyer and businessman.Many people may not agree with the sign but its presence indicates how far the region may swing against its traditional representative party.Property owner and lawyer Amir Harb painted the message on his shopfront yesterday afternoon, saying he wanted to send a strong message for the election."Wollongong deserves and has to be founded on accountability and transparency, and not cover-up," he said.Mr Harb, 38, said NSW Labor never properly took responsibility for its links with the Wollongong council corruption scandal."Hopefully they'll be shown the door," he said.Police spoke to him about the sign late yesterday but left after being satisfied he was not a graffiti vandal.Labor Member for Wollongong Noreen Hay did not wish to comment on the sign yesterday.Mr Harb took Wollongong City Council to the Land and Environment Court in 2006 after his plans to build a six-storey building at the Crown St site were refused. He won in court and gained permission for a five-level building which would include commercial space, four residential units and parking.The development has not started.

© 2011 Illawarra Mercury

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