2016 brought plenty of developments to be concerned about, both here in our local area and further afield. But we mustn’t forget that 2016 also brought some wonderful wins and great gains for our passionate and vibrant local community. None of them would have been possible without your commitment and support. So thank you!
Great wins in 2016
More space to walk and cycle
After many years of campaigning by the local community, the Minister for Transport confirmed up to $7.19 in funding to construct missing links in the Greenway cycle and pedestrian corridor. The first new section was opened in December 2016.
Protecting our heritage
Amid strong pressure from local people, the Land and Environment Court refused a development application for the historic former Children’s Court building that would have had a very bad impact on our local community in Glebe.
Long campaign pays off
The former Balmain Leagues Club site has been subject to many development proposals. The latest, one 12-storey and one 10-storey tower plus a huge supermarket and specialty store, was refused by the Land and Environment Court after a community campaign lasting over a decade.
Domestic violence support saved
The Women’s Family Law Court Support Service, which helps over 100 victims of domestic violence every month, was faced with having their funding ended by the Federal government.
State and Federal governments refused to budge on their funding dispute, so I challenged the Minister directly on the floor of Parliament. In response, the State Government guaranteed funding for the service for at least the next 12 months.
Standing up for street trees
After some very distressing and brutal street tree cutting, I helped local residents organise a community campaign which ended with Ausgrid committing to reducing their cutting of street trees. It won’t bring back the trees already mutilated by Ausgrid, but will help save thousands of others.
Amazing fundraising success
Leichhardt local Jakalene Williams requested our assistance with funds for her project to bring a truck of much needed supplies to the underserved remote Aboriginal community of Brewarinna. Together, we organised a crowdfunding campaign that beat its target nearly five times over, raising more than $7000 for the project. The first truck delivery was a big success, and Jakalene is planning to return with more trucks in 2017. A huge thanks to all who contributed.
Free travel for students
After a vibrant local community campaign we were successful in getting the School Student Transport Scheme that provides free travel to school students to and from school extended to include the light rail.
Human rights in Burma
I travelled to Burma to distribute funds raised by people from our local area to support farmers who’d been illegally imprisoned. Their families were delighted to receive much needed basic supplies and money; and even better, I was able to help local advocates get the farmers released from jail and returned to their homes.
Great gains in 2016
Cash for community groups: This year I was able to facilitate nearly $200,000 in community grants for local schools, art associations and sporting clubs, bringing the total funds raised to over a million dollars since I took office in 2011.
Fresher air at White Bay: After a hard-won community campaign, the Environmental Protection Agency passed two regulations that would prevent cruise ships burning higher-sulphur fuel while at berth and while travelling through Sydney Harbour. We were dismayed when these regulations were overturned by a change in Federal law, but after more months of campaigning, one was reinstated. We’ll continue to work for shore to ship power, the only long term solution to the pollution at White Bay.
A ferry for Glebe: I’ve started a community campaign asking the Government to introduce a ferry service from Glebe to the City. This would get people to and from work faster and give them more time to spend at home with their families. It would reduce traffic jams and bus congestion in the city. We have gathered over 1500 signatures on a petition so far, and the Minister for Transport has indicated he is receptive to our advocacy in this area.
Saving the Sydney College of Arts: The University of Sydney threatened the unique practice of the Sydney College of Arts in a proposed merger with UNSW Art & Design. After a powerful series of protests, they overturned their decision. However the University is now planning debilitating cuts to the SCA, which we’ll continue to fight.
A corruption-free NSW: I introduced a Private Members Bill to ban political donations from mining companies following up from the ICAC report that identified corruption risks around natural mineral exploitation. However Labor voted with liberals to allow mining companies to continue to make political donations.
I’m still determined to see cleaner politics in NSW, and have introduced a Private Members Bill to better protect whistleblowers who come to the ICAC with information, often at great personal risk.
Alternatives to WestConnex: I recently met with the Premier as part of my efforts to minimise the impacts of the WestConnex proposals. WestConnex is no longer proceeding with the exit that was planned for Camperdown and won’t be taking properties along Lilyfield Road. The project will no longer using Easton Park or Blackmore Oval, and they will not be building portals along Parramatta Road.
However WestConnex is moving to take houses along Victoria Road. I stand with the passionate community campaigners across our area and the broader Inner West who are working for an alternative to this destructive and wasteful tollroad.
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