Forced Council merger is likely to go ahead

Following the rejection of the previous Delegate report by the Land & Environment Court, the Delegate has now issued his revised report recommending that the merger of Strathfield, Canada Bay and Burwood Councils proceed.

The report is dated September 2016 but was only made public on 21 December 2016 and gives until 20 January 2017 for any public submissions to be made.

Council made representations to the State Government demanding that such a tight deadline be extended given the Christmas/New Year holiday period to allow sufficient time for Council and any residents to review and respond appropriately to such a significant document. However, the State Government has now declined to extend the deadline.

Residents can review the Delegate’s revised report on the Strathfield Council website at https://dpcsc-ss.s3.amazonaws.com/Uploads/1482211006/Strathfield.pdf.  

If residents wish to make any representations to Council for possible inclusion in Council’s submission, any representations must be sent to submissions@strathfield.nsw.gov.au and received by Council no later than 15 January 2017.

 

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Annual Councillor’s Report

Annual Councillor’s Report

This gallery contains 1 photo.

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

2016 Election day wrap-up

2016 Election day wrap-up
lachlan at burwood

Lachlan at Burwood Girls – a smiling face in a sea of blue

election day

Luke Foley and Craig Laundy try to recruit a new member

newington election day

Mauricio and Chris at Newington

chalmers st

On the job at Chalmers Street PS

mortlake queue

Long queues at Mortlake PS were the order of the day

As of 15 July 2016
Eight days after the big day, Bill Shorten conceded defeat and Malcolm Turnbull was confirmed as continuing in his role as Prime Minister, having reached the necessary 76 seat majority to form government, and with support from three independents to govern. 

This election has been remarkable in a number of aspects: it was the first double dissolution of Parliament since 1987 and it was one of the longest election campaigns on record, officially running for nearly 8 weeks after its announcement on 9 May 2016. This election has also seen cliff-hanging results in at least 5 seats which has meant that even after 10 days, the final seat count of the election is not yet final and relies on the counting of absentee and postal votes.

It did not bring Mr Turnbull the glorious victory that he might have hoped and the issue that triggered the DD, the establishment of the Australian Building & Construction Commission, barely got a mention by either of the big parties in the campaign.

Although nationally there was a swing towards the Greens of 1.3% with a first preference vote of 9.98%, we did not clinch our most likely inner-city seats such as Grayndler in Sydney and Batman in Melbourne.

Greens candidate Alex Bhathal in Batman received a 9.6% swing but was outbid at the last moment by Labor. In Grayndler, Labor candidate Antony Albanese preferenced the Liberals ahead of Greens candidate Jim Casey, despite his false claims that the Greens would preference the Liberals, apparently calculated to destabilise voter confidence in the Greens.

In Reid, sitting member Craig Laundy recorded a 0.9% loss in primary votes but retained a comfortable 4.7% majority including preferences, while Labor candidate, Angelo Tsirekas, the former Canada Bay Council mayor, also recorded a slight swing against him. Greens candidate, Alice Mantel increased the Greens first preference vote to 7.9% and recorded a 0.9% increase. The Christian Democrat Party and Family First recorded 6.2% of the overall vote, representing a 4.8% increase in the religious vote.

The full outcome of Senate voting is not yet known but Lee Rhiannon has been returned as Greens Senator for NSW and the Greens have certainly lost one of two senators in South Australia, with other Greens senators still at risk in Western Australia and Tasmania. It can also be expected that the representation of smaller parties such as the Xenophon party and Pauline Hanson’s party can expect to increase their share of seats and cause on-going disruption to an over-confident Coalition government.

Greens leader Richard di Natale commented in his National Press Club speech that “there have been some policy differences at the margins but overall there’s been a lack of courage, imagination and vision” in the election campaign. In that speech, Richard outlined key Greens policies and emphasised that we are in politics for the long haul. He concluded his speech saying,

Elections are about making choices. The choices we make reflect our values and aspirations. For those who choose for their precious places to be protected, for a smart economy based on education and innovation, for women to be safe to thrive and succeed in their chosen careers, for younger people to get a fair go in the housing market, for children and future generations, for a just settlement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, for poverty alleviated not entrenched in our society, for equal access to first class education, health and social services, and for a vibrant, prosperous and creative Australia — your choice is the Greens.

Thank you to all the members and supporters who contributed their time and energy to our campaign – we could not do it without you.
Alice Mantel

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Local council merger stalls after legal challenge

localcouncils

Local council merger stalls after legal challenge

The forced merger between Strathfield, Burwood and Canada Bay councils has been halted in the New South Wales Land and Environment Court as a result of a court challenge by Strathfield council.

The  Court determined that there were legal flaws in the report from the State Government appointed delegate who recommended merging the councils.

A number of other councils including Mosman, Hunters Hill and North Sydney also have challenged the Government’s proposed amalgamations and were buoyed by the result of this challenge.

On 12 May 2016 the State Government created 19 new councils under its forced amalgamation program  which reducing 152 councils to 112 with a delay in respect of the 9 councils that have commenced legal action.

The mergers have resulted in the sacking of hundreds of councillors and the appointment of administrators to administer councils until the next council elections which have been postponed until September 2017.

The first meeting of the new Inner West Council which was the result of the merged Leichhardt, Marrickville and Ashfield councils was marked by a strong resident protest.

Several councils escaped being merged, notably the proposed amalgamation between Walcha and Tamworth council, which was strongly opposed by the Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce.

Other mergers which will not be proceeding include the Hills and Hawkesbury Shire and Kiama and Shoalhaven councils.

 

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Join us to Clean Up Rhodes and the Parramatta River on March 6

Rhodes Foreshore Park – C

Meet the Greens candidate for Reid, Alice Mantel and help clean up this site.  

There will be a free BBQ from 10 am – 12.30 pm for all volunteers at Council’s clean-up sites:

  • Rodd Park, Rodd Point with mayor Angelo Tsirekas
  • Rhodes Foreshore Park, Rhodes with the Resource Recovery team

Let’s make it the biggest and best ever! Join an existing site or register your own.

 

Site Address

Rhodes Foreshore Park
Rhodes
NSW 2138

Meeting Point: Rhodes Foreshore Park, Shoreline Drive (near Mary Street), Rhodes

Date: March 6th 2016

Start time: 10:00 AM

End time: 2:00 PM

Site Coordinator Details

Elyse Ballesty
email: elyse.ballesty@canadabay.nsw.gov.au

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Forced WestConnex home acquisitions unfair

Despite a finding by a parliamentary committee, for the past 3 years, the NSW Government has known that the process for valuing homes forcibly acquired for major infrastructure projects – including WestConnex – is unfair to home owners.

As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald (p1) this morning a parliamentary committee chaired by Liberal MP Matt Kean found the compulsory acquisition system is “unfair and inadequate”. Yet the Government has forged ahead, acquiring a number of homes along the WestConnex route, with many more targeted for acquisition in the coming months.

MP for Newtown and NSW Greens WestConnex spokesperson Jenny Leong has called for a moratorium on all home acquisitions until a fair process has been determined and an independent inquiry of WestConnex has been undertaken.

“This is yet another reason why the construction of WestConnex needs to be halted until a full inquiry is undertaken. With the whole WestConnex project looking shakier by the day, people should not be forced out of their communities for what is looking more and more likely to be a failed project.

“Over the past year I have been in direct contact with extremely distressed residents, some of whom have lived in their homes for 40 years, that are facing the loss of their homes.  The impact on so many families, elderly people and individuals is life-changing – it’s disgraceful.

“Families are being forcibly uprooted removed from their homes and communities, before planning approvals have even been granted. Without sufficient compensation these families are unable to find a new home in the same local area – and that’s unacceptable.

“Why hasn’t the Government taken the advice of a parliamentary committee chaired by one of its own MPs? Does it have something to do with the already massive budget blowout on this disaster of a project?

“The community opposition to WestConnex is clear. It seems like every other week there’s a new story about cost blowouts, health concerns, lack of transparency – and now confirmation that the Government is taking advantage of people who happen to live along the route, by not offering them fair and just compensation,” she said.

11 January 2016

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Showdown between Community and Coalition on forced council amalgamations

 

Council_Amalgamations_2

The NSW Government’s forced amalgamations plans for local councils have been announced.

The forced amalgamations will cut the number of councils from 152 to 112. In Sydney, 43 councils will be reduced to 25, while 109 regional councils will become 87.

NSW Premier Mike Baird has said the target population size for the proposed merged Sydney councils was 150,000.

State-wide opposition to forced amalgamations has already seen Mike Baird’s merger plans ‘Fit for the Future’ scaled back significantly.  Growing community opposition means that the plans are far from guaranteed.

Greens MP and Local Government Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

“When a government dribbles out an unpopular policy a week before Christmas it’s a pretty clear sign that it’s feeling a lot of pain and just wants it to stop.

“For all the bluster and arrogance of the Baird government the proposed forced amalgamations on the table today are far less aggressive than his plans were earlier in the year.

“Six months ago the Baird government was planning to have a mass sacking of councils to appoint administrators and force Sydney into just six mega councils with dozens more council mergers in the bush.

“Growing community pressure has already forced a back down from Baird with no councils being sacked and a much reduced plan for forced mergers across the State.

“The Coalition now faces six months of even greater public pressure as each and every one of their proposed forced amalgamations grinds through separate public inquiries run by the Boundaries Commission.

“It’s no surprise this is being announced just before Christmas, it’s is a rubbish policy from an arrogant  government that knows forced amalgamations are deeply unpopular.

“What has been announced today is an incoherent plan for the future of local government without a scrap of evidence to support it.

“There is not a single report that supports a single one of these proposed mergers. What we see from Baird is a scrappy attempt at a political fix and councils and residents deserve far better.

“Baird is already finding that communities have far closer connections with their local councils and the services they provide than some smooth-talking bloke that they see on TV occasionally.

“The Greens remain committed to work with communities to stand up to the Coalition’s bullying, oppose forced amalgamations and keep local councils genuinely local.” Mr Shoebridge said.

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TRANSGRID LEASE EXPOSES CONSUMERS AND RENEWABLE ENERGY TO UNCERTAIN FUTURE

The $10.3 billion paid for the long-term lease of NSW’s high voltage transmission network raises serious questions about what guarantees have been given to the consortium and their costs for consumers and the future of the renewable energy industry, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye.

Dr Kaye said: “The over-the-odds sale price looks like consumers have been served up on a platter to the multi-national consortium.

“Premier Mike Baird must come clean on the details of what guarantees were provided.

“TransGrid is the nerve centre of the electricity system in NSW.

“If a top-dollar sale price was locked in with a series of contract sweeteners, then inevitably it will be consumers and the renewable energy industry who will pay.

“With annual revenues of only $2.2 billion, TransGrid was set to be the smallest of the leases yet it has brought in what looks like a highly inflated price.

“This will help Mike Baird politically and it will provide for additional infrastructure but inevitably the additional cash will be extracted from households.

“The Australian Energy Regulator wrote down TransGrid’s allowable annual revenue from $2.9 billion to $2.2 billion.

“Clearly the new leaseholders are expecting something more for their $10.3 billion investment.

“There is little the electricity price commissioner can do to protect consumers after the first four years of the lease period.

“The transmission network, set up to deliver electricity from the state’s five large coal fired power stations to urban centres and large industry, is at risk of becoming an impaired asset.

“Somewhere hidden in this deal there will be a massive sting in the tail for NSW.

“Today the people of NSW have lost control over their energy future to a consortium of multinational corporations that care nothing for households or the clean energy future,” Dr Kaye said.

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LOCAL COUNCILS SHOULD NOT BE FOOLED BY BAIRD’S BLUSTER AND BULLYING

Local councils across the state should not be fooled by Premier Baird’s bullying language and aggressive campaign to force amalgamations.

Premier Baird and Local Government Minister Toole sent a letter to all NSW Mayors with an unsubtle threat to councils who have listened to their local community and decided to remain standalone: “Councils that see the benefits of merging, but are unable to reach agreement with neighbouring councils, should submit their merger preferences even if agreement has not been reached. These councils will have the best opportunity to shape the future of the new council.”

In response to Baird and Toole’s bulliyng letter, Greens MP David Shoebridge has distributed a letter to all NSW Mayors and Councillors with some essential truths.

There is a very good reason why the Premier is so vague and why he is so bullying. He wants councils to capitulate and “voluntarily” merge by the end of this year because the alternative for him is a lengthy, politically damaging and far from certain outcome.

The Premier does not have a political majority in the NSW Upper House to amend the Local Government Act to allow him to simply sack councils and force mergers without due process.

Greens MP and Local Government Spokesperson David Shoebridge said: “This is blatant bullying from the Premier and Minister who know that if local councils don’t voluntarily amalgamate, the alternative is a lengthy, politically damaging and far from certain outcome.

“Baird and Toole have clearly been frustrated by local councils who have listened to their communities and been told to stand firm and not become a mega council.

“Most councils after consulting with their communities have found that their residents don’t support having their democratic say diluted by a merger and there is no economic justification for a merger.

“The fact is the Premier does not have a political majority in the Upper House to amend the Local Government Act to allow him to simply sack councils and force mergers without due process.

“The Greens will continue to support locals who, in the face of the Premier’s bullying, decide to stand alone as viable, community-supported and responsible councils.“ Mr Shoebridge said.

Both letters are online here: http://davidshoebridge.org.au/2015/11/13/local-councils-should-not-be-fooled-by-bairds-bluster-and-bullying/

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