State Government backflips on forced council mergers

Thursday, July 27, 2017 |

David Shoebridge, MP and Pauline Tyrrell celebrate a victory for grassroots democracy

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 merger.

Greens MP and Local Government Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

“From Strathfield to Woollahra and Kuring-gai to Randwick local communities have stood up to an arrogant state government and today they have won.

“A strong and principled campaign from communities, councils and elected representatives was always going to have more power than an out of touch and arrogant Liberal National government.

“The Greens will not rest until the State government has paid every cent of the legal costs of councils and every community that has suffered a forced amalgamation is given the right to get their council back.

“Next week legislation will be before the NSW Parliament that will make it impossible for any future government to forcibly amalgamate a local council without the support of a majority of local residents.

“Today we don’t forget the residents in councils including Pittwater, Leichhardt, Tumbarumba, Gloucester and Gundagai who have suffered deeply unpopular forced amalgamations and we will press on to secure legislation to get their councils back.

“There’s a lesson here for any state government, never take local communities for granted,” Mr Shoebridge said.

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NSW government wants a privatised public transport network paid for by taxpayers

NSW Transport Minister, Andrew Constance has told media of the government’s vision for a completely privatised public transport network. Mr. Constance told AFR on Monday that “in 10 to 15 years’ time, government will not be in the provision of transport services”.

Greens NSW MP and Transport Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC, has called the plans a blatant prioritisation of private interest over public needs.

Dr Faruqi said: “There is no doubt that advances in technology offer many opportunities to improve public transport but for the government to use this as an excuse to wash their hands of providing any public transport is preposterous.

“It is making more and more sense why the NSW Government is refusing to build new extensions to the public transport network and is spending billions on gifting the existing network over to the private sector.

“Because this government is incapable of delivering well-planned integrated public transport infrastructure on budget they just want to abrogate the responsibility altogether, rather than face up to the fact and improve.

“It is a responsibility of the government to guarantee the basic provision of public transport to people, and that includes those living in the most deprived and disadvantaged areas. Once you hand it over to private contractors, there is no guarantee that’ll happen and people who need it most will be left behind.

“Affordable, reliable and accessible public transport is an essential service. Once you hand it over to private sector there is no guarantee that commuters’ needs will be met. Transport will become a rat race for profit,” she concluded.

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Annual Councillor’s Report

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Pauline Tyrrell, Greens Councillor, City of Canada Bay Council  Here is a summary of my activities over the past year: Environment: I participated in several community events in support of: the Parramatta River Catchment Group’s ‘Make Parramatta River Swimmable’ Campaign; a meeting of Sydney Water with residents; Clean Up Australia Day with CBG members; and Canada Bay Bushcare. I was successful in convincing Council to lobby for more action on … Continue reading

PARRAMATTA ROAD PLAN A ‘GIFT FOR DEVELOPERS’

Responding to the government plan for Parramatta Road, Jamie Parker MP, Greens spokesperson on Urban Growth and Renewal said:

“The plan is yet another gift for developers in the inner west, with a miserable commitment to affordable housing, no new green open space and absolutely no commitment to any additional public transport.”

“Without a commitment to light rail on Parramatta Road, or green open spaces for our kids to play, the government is simply proposing more crowded residential towers with poor transport connections.”

“The government has proposed a pathetic affordable housing commitment which absolutely fails to address the enormous need for affordable properties in Sydney.”

“The onslaught of development into the heritage suburb of Haberfield continues, with large-scale development proposed for Parramatta Road that wasn’t present in previous plans.”

“The plan also increases the areas under threat by at least 50% in the Taverners Hill precinct, imposing large scale developments of up to 8 storeys in residential areas.”

“This plan is nothing more than a green light for a developer invasion of suburbs adjoining Parramatta Road, from Granville to Camperdown.”

“This takes place at a time when local residents have even less say in future developments, as their councils have been sacked.”

Get in touch:

Jamie Parker 0418 428 089

 
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Big wins for Greens in Council elections

Greens NSW achieved a huge boost in Local Government representation with three Mayors and 24 councillors elected from the 29 districts that were contested in the September 2016 elections.  

Greens Local Government spokesperson David Shoebridge congratulated the candidates and local groups that worked so tirelessly so soon after the Federal election.

Only half the councils in NSW were contested in the September 10 election, with others deferred to 2017 pending forced amalgamations.  No election was held in the Canada Bay Council area pending a decision by the Land & Environment Court in relation to an appeal lodged by the Canada Bay, Burwood and Strathfield councils against the State government decision to amalgamate the three councils.

Net increase of 11 Council representatives

The Greens went into the elections with 16 incumbents but Greens representation increased to 27 councillors.

“It’s clear the Greens NSW has had tremendous success in these elections,” Mr Shoebridge said.

Mayor of Byron Bay, Simon Richardson was rewarded for his dedication to the local community with an almost 12% swing and he will be joined by three other Greens on council, giving the party 4 out of 10 votes.

In Bellingen, sitting Councillor Dominic King came first on primaries and was elected Mayor and Greens councillors were doubled.  While in Shoalhaven, Amanda Findley was elected Mayor over former Liberal federal MP, Joanna Gash.

Amanda said the results reflect community support for our core values. “As Greens we stood side by side with residents and environmentalists to protect our beautiful coast, our homes and the environment from the pressures of overdevelopment. This vote reflects our longstanding commitment to the local community.”

First-time breakthroughs

The Greens also broke through for the first time in a number of councils. Dr Amanda Cohn and the Albury Greens backed up their strong effort at the federal election and Amanda was elected as the first Green to Albury Council.

One of our newest local groups, New England–Glen Innes now has Carol Sparkes elected to Glen Innes Severn Council. Dr Greg Clancy was elected to Clarence Valley and Leah Ferrara elected to Goulburn Mulwaree Council.

We had narrow misses in Kyogle and Ballina (both less than 80 votes) and Saan Ecker missed out by just 13 votes in Yass Valley.

Growing vote in Western Sydney

Mr Shoebridge was buoyed by the growth of our vote in Western Sydney, where we safely retained a councillor on Hawkesbury Council and gained councillors in Campbelltown and the Blue Mountains.

In the City of Sydney, Mr Shoebridge said the Greens were squeezed between Clover Moore and the gerrymandered business vote. “We congratulate Clover Moore on retaining the Mayoralty and staring down the Baird Government’s crooked electoral system.

“Across the state the Greens have been standing up for local government in the face of the Baird government’s attacks and local residents respect our consistent voice for grassroots democracy.”

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Dr John Kaye MLC – a champion of public education

“With John’s death the Greens NSW and the NSW Parliament have lost an MP of enormous principle, energy and commitment. His colleagues have also lost a dear friend.

“John was a tireless champion of public education, leading the national debate on education funding with an unflagging commitment to TAFE and public schools.

“Public schools and TAFE colleges in this State are stronger, better resourced and more prominent in the national debate due to the work of Dr Kaye.

“A lifelong commitment to public endeavour and social justice saw John campaign across the state in opposition to the privatisation of the state’s electricity sector.

“The Greens NSW will continue to benefit from John’s work in establishing a clear path to NSW becoming the first state with 100% renewable electricity.

“John has always taken to heart his role as a Greens MP for the whole of NSW.

“While John’s parliamentary work is deeply memorable, his community organising was extraordinary.

“Preventing the disastrous Tillegra Dam in the Hunter valley was a personal highlight for John. He attributed this win to his ability to work with a spirited and united local community.

“In the Illawarra John rightly took pride in developing, together with unions and workers, the Greens’ Steel Procurement policy. John’s Steel Industry Protection Bill is still before the NSW parliament.

“John passed away after a struggle with an aggressive cancer which developed in recent months. He died peacefully in his home surrounded by friends and family.

“Our thoughts today are with John’s partner Lynne, his sister and brothers Dina, Andrew and Stephen and their families,” Mr Shoebridge said.

A private service will be held this week at Waverley Cemetery. Details of a public celebration of John’s life will be announced shortly

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