Canada Bay Greens submission on council amalgamations

A major issue affecting the people of Canada Bay, and across Sydney, is the NSW Government’s controversial council amalgamations, with the Government intending to amalgamate the councils of Canada Bay, Burwood and Strathfield, amongst many others across NSW.

Here is the Canada Bay Greens submission regarding the proposed merger.

Related issues include:

  • Westconnex, the NSW Government’s tollway nightmare, related because amalgamated councils will be less connected to local opposition by people whom this badly affects. Also,
  • “Urban Growth” which imposes the Government’s overwhelming skyscraper development plans on Sydney residents who have little idea about it, and little chance of affecting the outcomes. Again, council amalgamations make it harder for local opposition by disconnecting people from the council supposed to represent them.

Westconnex and “Urban Growth” are similar in that both impose massive change on residents, who have little chance to object, and are paid low recompense when their land is compulsorily acquired.

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Greens denounce Bill Shorten’s turn-back policy

Thursday, Jul 23rd, 2015

The Greens have today denounced Bill Shorten’s move to back the Abbott Government’s “turn-back” policy for refugees seeking asylum in Australia.

“Labor’s move to adopt Tony Abbott’s turn-back policy is short-sighted and will only make things harder for refugees to find safety,” Greens Immigration spokesperson Sarah Hanson-Young said today.

“Turn-backs are dangerous. They have never been about saving lives, they are about pushing people away, often to die in someone else’s waters or trapped, unable to escape harm.

“Rather than pushing refugees over the horizon to die somewhere else, Australia needs to engage in our region to help provide safer passage and options for refugees.

“If every country turned boats away, thousands of refugees would die every week and the entire refugee system would collapse. Australia must stop being so arrogant and instead help our neighbours offer safety to refugees through humanitarian assistance, resettlement and search and rescue.

“Many Labor supporters will be heartbroken to see the ALP fail to stand up to Tony Abbott’s anti-refugee rhetoric.

“Back-flipping on turn-backs is a big mistake for Labor and will only accelerate the race to the bottom.

“History has shown that every time Labor backs the Coalition on refugee policy the LNP come up with the next cruel policy, making life worse for refugees, not better.

“Leadership requires more than kowtowing to the fear campaigns of others. Many people will be upset that the Labor Party has vacated the field on human rights and common-sense.”

Note: Audio from Senator Hanson-Young’s doorstop in Adelaide this morning is attached

 

 

Media Contact: Rachel Ryan 0427 604 760

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FIT FOR THE FUTURE’ CREATING TURMOIL IN LOCAL COUNCILS

Canada Bay Council is the latest victim of the Coalition government’s ham-fisted attempts to force unpopular mergers on local councils, a process which is causing division, distrust and dysfunction across NSW local government. Just one week ago Canada Bay had resolved to stand alone and not merge with adjoining councils despite pressure from the State government.

However last night a minority of ALP councillors took advantage of a colleague’s absence to overturn the council’s position and propose a merger with Burwood, Auburn and Strathfield Councils. To add insult to injury the same councillors then moved a rescission motion and deliberately voted it down to avoid the democratic majority on Council returning to a stand-alone position when the absent councillor returns from leave.

Greens MP and Local Government Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

“The Coalition government’s ‘Fit for the Future’ agenda is causing serious dysfunction, division and distrust across NSW councils.

“The government needs to abandon its local government scare campaign that is pitching councillors against each other as they try to avoid the heavy hand of the state government.

“These kinds of shenanigans, where the ALP councillors move a rescission motion with the clear intent to vote it down, give politics a deservedly bad name.

“This minority of ALP councillors have ignored the wishes of 70% of the people of Canada Bay who are dead against their council merging.

“The state government should now accept that the ‘Fit for the Future’ agenda is hopelessly compromised and needs to be abandoned in favour of a far more constructive engagement with local councils and communities,” Mr Shoebridge said.

Canada Bay Greens Councillor Pauline Tyrell said:

“I’ll be asking other councillors to support an extraordinary meeting for Council to suspend any submission to IPART while an urgent independent legal review of the ALP councillors’ abuse of the rescission motion is conducted.

“The mechanism of a rescission motion is designed to correct a situation where one or more Councillors are absent and their vote might make a material difference to the Council’s vote.

“The rescission motion can only be used once in any three month period, so to deliberately lose it at a meeting where they happen to have the numbers because councillors are absent is nothing short of a scandal.

“I believe the Council’s actions may well have been unlawful last night and we need an urgent legal investigation.

“As a Greens councillor, I will always stand with my residents, who have told me they don’t want Canada Bay becoming part of an inner west mega-council,” said Cr Tyrrell.

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Canada Bay Council votes unanimously to remain independent

In a blow to the NSW Government’s plans to create huge super councils in Sydney  Canada Bay Council has voted unanimously to remain independent.

A report by Council staff noted that merging with the six inner west Councils recommended by the NSW Government would cost ratepayers $96m in transition costs and result in a funding shortfall of $70m which would require 10 years of operation to break even.

Greens Councillor Pauline Tyrrell successfully moved the motion that Canada Bay submit a stand alone proposal to the NSW Government.

‘I congratulate all my fellow councillors for their support of the independence of Canada Bay.’ said Clr Tyrrell.

‘Canada Bay Council was formed by an amalgamation of Drummoyne and Concord Councils in 2000. We know how disruptive an amalgamation can be and how long it takes the scars to heal.’

‘With 87,000 residents, a growing population and sound financial performance there is no reason Canada Bay should be forced to merge, particularly when 70% of residents surveyed independently said they want to remain as Canada Bay.’

‘I particularly congratulate my Liberal councillor colleagues for being clear that they support an independent Canada Bay and also having the courage to vote how they did even though it does not accord with the NSW Liberal Government agenda.’

‘I also want to thank the Mayor of Canada Bay for his clear support of my motion and allowing full debate on all the options.’

‘I understand that Auburn, Burwood and Leichhardt Council have all reluctantly said that if they have to amalgamate they would do so with Canada Bay. I hope this vote at Canada Bay sends a message that we represent our community who have said no to amalgamations, and we will not amalgamate with any of those Councils.’

Clr Pauline Tyrrell

Mob. 0438 694 652

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Coalition government shows its true colours on forced amalgamations

The Coalition has today opposed a Parliamentary motion moved by the Greens in support of local government and the rights of community members to determine the future of their own councils.

The government’s opposition shows its plan to force local government amalgamations even where councils are financially sustainable and have the support of their communities.

Greens MP and Spokesperson for Local Government David Shoebridge said:

“The Coalition government has today shown its true colours on forced amalgamations by refusing to support the right of local communities to determine their own future.

“This government talks about empowering local government yet none of their actions live up to this rhetoric.

“Only a government with an anti-community agenda would oppose a resolution that supports the right of members of communities to determine the future of their own Local Councils and opposes the forced amalgamations of councils that are financially sustainable and have the support of their communities.

“The Greens have said all along that Fit for the Future is an attempt to push forced amalgamations by stealth and the government’s opposition to this motion further evidences that.

“Across NSW, people have strong links with their local council and it is undemocratic for local voices to be silenced by Premier Baird and his friends in big business.

“Forced amalgamations, bigger bureaucracies and less democracy is not the answer for local government.

“The Greens support local areas having the right to amalgamate where there is genuine community support but we will oppose any legislation that forces unwilling communities to merge.” Mr Shoebridge said.

The terms of the motion moved by the Greens and opposed by the Coalition are as follows:

Mr Shoebridge says—
Mr PRESIDENT:
I give notice that on the next sitting day I will move:
1. That this House supports the right of members of communities to determine the future of their own Local Councils.
2. That this House opposes the forced amalgamations of councils that are financially sustainable and have the support of their communities.
Media contact: David Shoebridge 9230 3030 or 0408 113 952

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Nile’s electricity inquiry stitch-up locks out renewable energy future

April 15, 2015

A behind-closed-door deal between the Baird government and the Christian Democrats has locked renewable energy and low income households out of next month’s upper house inquiry into the proposed privatisation of the state’s poles and wires network, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye.

Dr Kaye said: “Fred Nile’s first act in the new parliament is to set up a stacked inquiry designed to silence opposition to the government’s poles and wires privatisation.

“Mr Nile continues his strong track record of rolling over to the government on every critical issue.

“This is a stitch up job, clearly written in collaboration with the Baird government.

“This inquiry will comprehensively ignore the impacts of electricity privatisation on the future of renewable energy.

“There will be no space for roof-top solar, wind or solar thermal. There will no voice for technologies of the future that stand to lose badly in a privately-owned electricity network.

“Completely absent from the terms of reference are the consequences of the Baird government’s power sell-off on low-cost battery storage and household standalone power generation.

“It’s like the inquiry was happening 25 years ago.

“The absence of a Green on the inquiry guarantees that there will no focus on clean energy technologies.

“The Coalition and Christian Democrat majority will ensure that the dire implications of network privatisation for low income households will be given little or no consideration.

“Contrary to what the Rev Nile told the media prior to the election this inquiry has a pro-privatisation majority.

“The hard questions will not be asked and the most severe critics will not be given a hearing.

“The Greens will not be represented on this important inquiry, despite being the only parliamentary party to have a consistent record of opposing electricity privatisation.

“The biased terms of reference raise real questions about the counterpart of the deal that Fred Nile has clearly cut with the government.

“Mike Baird’s senior staffer Bay Warburton has been seen frequently entering Fred Nile’s parliamentary office.

“It remains to be seen which of Fred Nile’s pet projects are to be given a hearing from the government now that his inquiry has been heavily stacked in their favour,” said Dr Kaye.

For more information: John Kaye 0407 195 455

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GREENS ANNOUNCE ABORIGINAL POLICY INITIATIVE

Thursday, 19 March 2015
On National Close the Gap Day, Greens MP and Aboriginal
Affairs spokesperson Jan Barham has announced the
Greens’ initiatives to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander peoples in NSW.
“The Greens policy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People acknowledges the failings
of Government to address the devastating conditions in many areas for Aboriginal people,”
said Ms Barham.
Key elements of the policy include:
• a NSW Premier’s report on outcomes for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples,
• a $250 million investment in Aboriginal housing to deliver around 1,000 homes,
• a plan and protocols to clear the backlog of 26,000 Aboriginal land claims,
• strategies for Aboriginal employment & training, including child welfare & tourism,
• lowering the eligibility age for the Seniors Card to 45 years for Aboriginal people, and
• a NSW Parliamentary inquiry into reparations for the Stolen Generations
Ms Barham said: “NSW can take the lead and prepare a state based annual report on a
broader set of Closing the Gap indicators to ensure that the funding and policies that are in
place are delivering outcomes.”
Last year Greens MLC Jan Barham presented a motion to the Parliament for the establishment
of an inquiry into Stolen Generations reparations. In Tasmania, legislation has been enacted
to provide for compensation and there is a similar bill before the South Australian Parliament.
“The history of removal of Aboriginal people from their families and country in NSW still
affects the lives of many, and an inquiry to report and consider appropriate reparations could
deliver a framework for genuine redress.”
“The health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is of major concern with life
expectancy identified as between 10 and 17 years less than the general population. The
Greens have called for eligibility to the NSW Seniors Card to include Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander people from the age of 45 years, to enable earlier opportunities for access to
health and transport services.
“The health and wellbeing of people is determined strongly by their ability to access safe and
stable housing. The Greens have acknowledged that there needs to be a major injection of
funding to facilitate more housing and reduce the increasing issue of homelessness

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