Published in the South Sydney Herald, September 2016
Recently, on a sunny Sunday afternoon, over 150 people from across Sydney gathered to launch a unique solar energy project that brings together the beer brewing expertise of Young Henrys with the solar energy knowhow of Pingala.
It’s a special collaboration – not just because it will deliver ‘solar powered beer’ – but because it allows community members to come together to invest in small-scale renewable energy.
Tamara Smith, Member for Ballina and NSW Greens spokesperson for education today spoke in support of the NSW Safe Schools Coalition Program.
'It is astonishing that we have people petitioning NSW parliament, saying that they do not want schools to be safe for all students that attend them. Surely everyone would agree that our schools should be safe, supportive and inclusive for all young people,' said Ms Smith.
Community members and local anti-Westconnex campaigners were joined by Lord Mayor Clover Moore and Greens MP for Newtown, Jenny Leong, on Monday morning Sept 19 and stopped the first bulldozer destroying parts of Sydney Park. A protest campsite was established which was later raided at 3am by the Redfern police and WestConnex who pulled out the protestors who had been previously assured that they would not be moved during the night.
However, the camp remains and is growing as more people join the campaign to Stop WestConnex bulldozers here. Join them and sign up at the protest camp on Euston Road, Alexandria (adjacent to Sydney Park) or Call our office on (02) 9517 2800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Recognising the threat to Sydney’s vibrant night-life from the Baird Liberal Government, the NSW Greens have established a new Night-time Culture and Economy portfolio. This has been announced today in line with the release of the Callinan Review report.
Member for Newtown, Jenny Leong MP, will take carriage of the new portfolio and continue to work closely with key stakeholders to keep Sydney safe and open.
The Greens have attacked moves by the NSW government to remove the Gayby Baby School Action Toolkit from state schools.
"The NSW Education Minister has pulled a valuable resource that his own department has supported, seemingly because he was told about it by the media," said the Australian Greens LGBTIQ spokesperson Senator Janet Rice.
The Greens say recent revelations from a whistleblower regarding asbestos contamination in WestConnex road fill add to the alarming list of asbestos concerns about this project which have been made to the NSW Premier Mike Baird and Roads Minister Duncan Gay.
“The number of serious concerns raised over the past 12 months regarding asbestos handling and safety precautions on the WestConnex project should have raised red flags for Duncan Gay,” said the Australian Greens spokesperson for transport and infrastructure Senator Janet Rice.
“However, Minister Gay has continuously disparaged or rebuffed claims from residents and from Jenny Leong, NSW Greens spokesperson on WestConnex, that WestConnex has been acting outside proper health and safety protocols.
Given the recent revelations concerning the Government's responses to the Russell Review of the compulsory acquisition process, it now is clear that the Premier failed to act on two key reports which were highly critical of the government’s compulsory acquisition process and functioning of the Valuer General's office.
The first dates back to May 2013 when the Report of the Joint Standing Committee on the Office of the Valuer General, chaired by Liberal MP Matt Kean was released. This committee made 29 recommendations which included a number criticizing the fairness and openness of the land acquisition process and the functions of the Valuer General’s office, but the government did nothing to make the process fairer.
Mike Baird was Treasurer at this time when the Liberals embarked on hundreds of acquisitions for infrastructure projects including Westconnex, NorthConnex, Sydney Metro and the Sydney light rail, knowing the process regarding property valuations by the Valuer General was not transparent and was unfair in a number of ways.
Then in February 2014, the government received the Review from David Russell, SC, which was commissioned in 2012 and included guiding principles on how compulsory acquisitions should be dealt with by government.
Transport for NSW has announced that Wimbo Park in Surry Hills will be ‘future proofed’ to allow for an additional light rail stop on the CBD and South East Light Rail route.
The announcement follows a local community campaign calling for a second Surry Hills stop, to increase accessibility and to bring that stretch of the route in-line with the rest of the project.
Greens NSW MP and acting spokesperson on Sexuality & Gender Identity Dr Mehreen Faruqi has said that the reported conservative push against Safe Schools by a NSW Liberals MP (Daily Telegraph, 23 August 2016) is another example of unwarranted attacks and scare tactics being used on an important education program.
The NSW Greens oppose the University of Sydney's announcement that up to 50 jobs will go from the Sydney College of the Arts (SCA) as part of the incorporation of the college into the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.
This cut comes after students, staff and supporters successfully lobbied against the earlier plan to merge the SCA with the College of Fine Arts (COFA) at the University of NSW.
The SCA will be relocated from the present site in Rozelle at Callan Park to the Camperdown/Darlington campus to 'ensure financial viability' and the university has indicated that the structure and delivery of the current curriculum will be 'streamlined'. It's proposed that the Jewellery and Object major and Ceramics and Glassmaking components of the Sculpture major in the Bachelor Visual Arts (BVA) will be discontinued for students commencing from 2018.
The Greens believe that these staff cuts and proposed cuts to the arts practice content of the BVA, are a cynical cost cutting excercise which will reduce options for students and have a negative impact on the future of our arts industry. Major universities such as the University of Sydney should offer comprehensive arts degrees and not cut funding and marginalise arts education.
The release of the government’s Sydney Night-Time Economy Roundtable Action Plan is a move in the right direction, but doesn’t address the real problems facing Sydney’s nightlife and cultural industries.
Premier Baird admitted today in Question Time that the WestConnex acquisition process has not been ‘anywhere near as good as it should have been’.
The Premier highlighted that he has appointed Michael Pratt, the Customer Service Commissioner in the Department of Premier and Cabinet, to oversee a new process that will ensure that those affected by the Stage 3 acquisitions will get a more generous and caring ‘world’s best practice’ process.