Bus services in the Inner West have been privatised

Bus services in the Inner West have been privatised

As of the 1st July, bus services in the Inner West have been privatised. On that day I went to the rally at the Leichhardt bus depot against the privatisation, and in support of support of drivers who are now losing pay and conditions. The privatisation breaks an express promise by the NSW Coalition that buses would not be privatised. We have already seen a large string of bus stops removed across Canada Bay on a dubious basis – all getting ready to help the operator make more money. Unfortunately, this will get worse.

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 have dropped the ball on real improvements.

They could do a lot: they could fast track trams along Parramatta Road (and all around Sydney). There is a plan for  Parramatta Rd electric trams that doesn’t even require tram tracks! But that plan got dumped without even consulting the public.

They could electrify the buses. And they could stop wasting our money on Westconnex. And especially they could stop privatising public transport which will essentially freeze it the way is, that is until the operators start to chip away at services to make a bit more money! Today I went to the rally in Sydney to support public transport. Former councillor, Pauline Tyrrell attended the rally with me.

Candidates for Canada Bay Council election announced

Candidates for Canada Bay Council election announced
Candidates (l to r): Steve Maxwell, Alysha Hardy, Charles Jago, Pauline Tyrrell and James Okeby.

Candidates (l to r): Steve Maxwell, Alysha Hardy, Charles Jago, Pauline Tyrrell and James Okeby.

Canada Bay Greens are fielding a diverse team of candidates for the upcoming Council elections on 9 September.

Heading the team is Charles Jago who is also running as the Greens mayoral candidate.  He is supported Alysha Hardy, James Okeby, Pauline Tyrrell and Steve Maxwell.

During the 30 years Charles has lived in the Council area, his children were educated locally and competed in local sports teams.  As a long-time Greens member he has been involved in such campaigns as saving the foreshore walk around Concord Hospital, improving public transport services, preserving Cabarita Park and more recently in fighting against forced council mergers.

Reinforcing Charles is three-term Greens councillor Pauline Tyrrell who has championed residents’ rights by promoting the building of a new primary school in Concord West, expanding the bush care program and cleaning up the Parramatta River foreshore. Pauline is retiring as councillor but will still stand on the Canada Bay Greens ticket.

Charles commented, “I am really proud to be following on from Pauline who has done a great job in her twelve years as a councillor.”

Alysha Hardy and James Okeby have first-hand experience of affordable housing issues for young people as well as being passionate about providing more accessible services for elderly and disabled persons in our community.  The final candidate Steve Maxwell is a local resident who represented the Greens in the battle to stop the Clyde Waste-transfer dump in Auburn. Currently retired, his interests lie in supporting the Arts, local Greens campaigns and reviving ‘Speakers corner’ in the Sydney Domain.

As local residents, the Greens team oppose unsustainable residential overdevelopment and support maintaining open spaces and community buildings.  The Greens have consistently opposed any forced merger of Canada Bay with Strathfield and Burwood Councils because surveys have shown that the majority of residents do not want a merger.  Ensuring good public bus services also has a high priority and the Greens will fight to ensure that buses are not privatised, that existing services are not reduced and that local bus routes are improved to better suit residents’ needs.

More information: view the Greens campaign flyer.

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

EIS Reveals More Congestion After WestConnex is Built

Greens MP and Transport Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC, has responded to the Environmental Impact Statement released for the M4 East Widening Stage of the WestConnex toll road.

Dr Faruqi said:

“The widening will just shift the bottleneck of the M4 a few kilometres further down the road. Even if motorists have a faster run on the widened and tolled M4, they will still be essentially sitting in a paid car park when they reach Parramatta road, which the Government’s own consultants admit will remain the most direct road for a large number of trips even if the whole of WestConnex is built.

“In the EIS, the Government’s own numbers predict increased congestion on surrounding roads such as Parramatta Road if WestConnex is built, which will also delay bus services and impede access to train stations”.

“It is concerning that some traffic modelling assumptions are inadequate, utilising anecdotal evidence and Brisbane-based data, which means WestConnex runs the same risks as the failed Lane Cove Tunnel.

“The case for the WestConnex toll road is unraveling and the Greens will continue to work with the community and transport experts to expose WestConnex for what it is: a wasteful, unnecessary and expensive $13 billion dollar toll road to nowhere.

“The Government needs to commit the billions of dollars earmarked for the wasteful WestConnex toll road to effective and efficient public transport that gives people options to leave their cars at home, and reduces congestion for people that have to use their car” she concluded.


Secret report condemns “addiction to roads”

Greens MP and NSW Spokesperson for Roads, Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC, has commented on a leaked Infrastructure Australia report that describes the proposed NSW Government’s NorthConnex and WestConnex  tollways as  a “hideously inefficient” spending on national roads.

Dr Faruqi said, “The Roads Minister would do well to listen to Infrastructure Australia, who have long had questions about the WestConnex business case and who are now saying that Australia has a ‘gambler’s addiction to roads’.

“This view confirms what the Greens have long been warning about, that this Government’s obsession with roads is ill-conceived.

“For many transport experts and communities, the description of road spending as an addiction rings true, especially as the government has been so secretive about the business case for the 13 billion dollar WestConnex tollway.

(23/7/14 Dr Mehreen Faruqi, MLC)