Parramatta River Catchment Group workshop on World Water Day

Parramatta River Catchment Group workshop on World Water Day

Today is World Water Day. I went to a workshop held in Rhodes with the Parramatta River Catchment Group. The workshop gathered broad input on the work and plans focusing on different aspects of the health of the Parramatta River. Their motto: make the Parramatta River Swimmable again! But more broadly, dealing with a wide range of factors affecting the health of the river, including the animals and plants that … Continue reading

Invasion Day rally and march – Australia Day is on the wrong day

On 26 January, I went to Canada Bay Council’s citizenship ceremony in Rhodes. Then I went to the Invasion Day rally and march. I think Australia Day could represent a great way to celebrate all the good things Australians have to offer and enjoy. Of course, the current date doesn’t work for Indigenous Australians, so we need to change it. Many people say that, by itself, changing the date will not … Continue reading

Rezoning proposal in Homebush wants to double heights of buildings

Rezoning proposal in Homebush wants to double heights of buildings

In mid February I attended a public meeting in Homebush run by the Eastern City Planning Panel, held to get community input into a rezoning proposal for 11-17 Columbia Lane Homebush. This property is within Strathfield Council area, but very close to Canada Bay area. The proposal, with apparent NSW Government support, is to increase the allowed height from 32m to 80m, say 22 storeys or maybe more! This will … Continue reading

NSW state government stops councillors determining development approvals

As of 1 March, the NSW state government has stopped councillors in Canada Bay from determining the outcomes of any development approvals (DAs). The excuse is to stop corruption. The “solution” is to remove the democratic influence of councils on development across Canada Bay, with the NSW government grabbing control and planning laws made even more developer-friendly than before.

Until now, DAs which were controversial were passed from council staff to the councillors. The decisions were made in an open council meeting, where people for or against a development had the chance to speak. But now, because of new NSW state government law, our councillors will no longer have any role in these decisions. Instead, they will be made by planning panels called IHAPs (Independent Hearing and Assessment Panels) – all across Sydney and Wollongong.

In most cases, the outcome would be the same. But in some cases it would be different, because elected councillors are concerned not just about following planning rules, but representing the community’s best interest. Councillors are accountable to the community and can be later voted out of office if enough people disagree with them.

This legislation is the latest example of the NSW state government taking power away from democratically elected local councils, and imposing their own rules. The fees for the extra bureaucrats is paid for by the council and if a party appeals to the Land and Environment Court against an IHAP decision, the council (who had no say in the decision) has to foot the legal bill. I still don’t know if the IHAP will make decisions in public, and when their meetings will take place.

Who asked for this backward step? The real estate industry. The IHAPs are called independent, but they are effectively controlled by the state government.

LOCAL DEVELOPMENT ASSESSMENT

Local people will continue to send me emails about their concerns about developments going on around them. Yes, I can send them to the IHAP. But I won’t be able to do much to help them. If you are concerned about this, learn about what the state government has done and continues to do about planning laws. Yes I know it’s complicated. That’s why they have gotten away with this – up until now.

[The Inner West Courier published a modified form of this post on 6 March 2018 on their letters page.]

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Switch 2017 conference for the NSW Public Libraries Association

Switch 2017 conference for the NSW Public Libraries Association

  I attended the Switch 2017 conference for the NSW Public Libraries Association at Penrith. We had some great speakers and a lot of enthusiasm. The key focus is seeing the library as “community glue” and an enabler of community learning. Community libraries do a lot, but need more state government funding.  Having once worked for the State Library of NSW, it was a great way to reconnect with some familiar faces! … Continue reading

Marriage equality motion supported by council

On 17 October last year, I introduced a motion to Council supporting marriage equality.  Council passed the motion but amended point 3. The full text of my notice of motion was as follows: THAT Council: Supports the entitlement of people in the City of Canada Bay and elsewhere to exercise the civil right to marry the person of their choice. Supports the value of legislative reform that does not discriminate … Continue reading

Public transport rally – 17th February

Public transport rally – 17th February

I attended the public transport rally to draw attention to the need for change in the public transport sector. Clean accessible public transport is the only system capable of moving most people across Sydney. The problem is, it’s overcrowded and the NSW government has failed to step up with the major improvements we need. In the week preceding this rally, the government announced privatisation arrangements for Inner West buses. Meanwhile, they … Continue reading

Greens re-elected to Council

In a hard-fought election campaign, Greens member Charles Jago has been elected to the City of Canada Bay Council to replace retiring councillor Pauline Tyrrell, who has completed three terms on Council. 

Overall voting trends in the Council area showed a swing away from the Liberals and Labor, while the Greens achieved a small positive swing of 0.75%. Two groups of Independents also ran in this election. Daniela Ramondino, a local business woman was successful in getting a seat, with the vote for independents coming from Labor and Liberals.

Despite an 8% swing against Labor, they were able to re-elect former Labor Mayor Angelo Tsirekas and also maintain three councillor positions. A 6% swing against the Liberals saw them lose one councillor position (down to three), at the expense of previous mayor Helen McCaffrey. Charles Jago for the Greens and Ms Ramondino hold the other two councillor positions.

Charles has been an active Greens member for over 15 years and has lived in the City of Canada Bay area since 1989. He currently works as an adult trainer and his professional experience includes working in the information technology and community development sectors.

Charles’s key concerns include:

  • Environmental sustainability, including climate change
  • Planning and development that serves the residents of the Council area
  • Information technology
  • Transport, especially public transport
  • Energy, including demand management and energy efficiency
  • Social justice issues
  • Local democracy to serve local residents.

 

Contact details:
Email:  use our Contact form
Telephone: 0403 902 613

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State Government backflips on forced council mergers

State Government backflips on forced council mergers

Thursday, July 27, 2017 | The State government has announced that it will not continue to force council mergers where councils have taken the government to Court. Canada Bay Greens Councillor Pauline Tyrrell has been the only councillor to consistently oppose any forced council mergers over the past two years.  She hailed this decision as a victory for local democracy in this area where 75% of residents have opposed a forced … Continue reading