Published in the South Sydney Herald, February 2017
Can our new Premier improve the score?
NSW has a new Premier. We’re relieved to see the back of Casino (or is it Chainsaw?) Mike, but will our new Premier be better?
Premier Berejiklian has already indicated how her Government will respond on a number of key issues. On others, we’re still in the dark. Over the coming months we will see whether the Premier is genuinely willing to listen to community concerns and take action to repair some of the disastrous decisions made under former Premier Baird.
What a week it has been for WestConnex – with the release of a damning report by the National Auditor General, the arrival of the Minister for WestConnex in the NSW Parliament, and Labor supporting a Greens motion in the Senate condemning the Federal Government for lack of governance in expending federal funds for the project.
In response to the “Unsettled: Life in Australia's private rental market” report released today, NSW Greens spokesperson on Housing Jenny Leong MP gave notice of a motion in the NSW Parliament calling for an end to ‘no grounds’ evictions in the state.
The report, a national study co-authored by Australian consumer advocacy group CHOICE, the National Association of Tenants' Organisations and National Shelter, shows that tenants across Australia are living in a climate of fear, due to insecurity around their tenure.
Drop in to the Greens’ stall at Fair Day to chat with us about our campaigns supporting LGBTIQ communities. Don't forget it's a Camperdown Memorial Rest Park this year!
Our NSW LGBTIQ spokesperson Jenny Leong MP and our Federal spokesperson Senator Janet Rice will be there from midday, along with a number of other Greens MPs.
The NSW Premier has announced that former Reserve Bank of Australia governor Glenn Stevens will be assisting the government with their housing affordability strategy.
NSW Greens spokesperson on Housing Jenny Leong MP has welcomed the Premier’s recognition that housing affordability is an urgent issue for the people of NSW, but says that the solution needs to move beyond supply.
The Australian National Audit Office has released its report into Commonwealth funding of the WestConnex project. The report looks into whether appropriate steps were taken to protect the Commonwealth's interests and obtain value for money in relation to the $3.5 billion in Commonwealth funding committed to WestConnex.
Reports that the National Affordable Housing Agreement will be scrapped at the next budget have sent shockwaves through the housing and homelessness sector, with advocates warning that abandoning the agreement will have devastating effects on the most vulnerable members of our community.
NSW Housing spokesperson Jenny Leong MP said that, while the agreement was flawed, it was an essential source of funding for public housing.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklin announced her new cabinet today, with the extraordinary announcement that a stand-alone ministry has been created for WestConnex.
Greens spokesperson for WestConnex and Member for Newtown Jenny Leong MP says that a special ministry won’t solve the WestConnex debacle.
Every single major housing market in Australia is ‘severely unaffordable’ according to the latest Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey. Sydney is second on the list of the most severely unaffordable housing markets in the world.
Greens housing spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon and Greens NSW housing spokesperson Jenny Leong say it is absurd that both federal and state governments insist that they can tackle housing affordability without making any changes to unfair tax structures like negative gearing and capital gains tax discounts that favour investors.
Now that Baird is opting out of politics, his centerpiece project needs to be stopped. Since he and Tony Abbott turned the first sod of this toxic project back in March 2015, community opposition has continued to grow.
Public criticism of WestConnex, billion dollar budget blowouts, shonky, secretive planning and huge contracts to companies under federal police investigation, have all played a significant role in the declining popularity of Premier Baird, according to Greens Member for Newtown Jenny Leong MP.
More community members have been aggressively handled and violently arrested at Sydney Park as peaceful protests against WestConnex continue. The use of force and the subsequent charges laid show that the police are using the powers of the Baird Government’s new draconian anti-protest laws.
NSW Greens spokesperson on WestConnex and Member for Newtown, Jenny Leong MP, says:
“I have serious concerns about the level of police aggression and violence that’s occurred in recent days at Sydney Park.
“Local police, the riot squad and plainclothes police - some wearing leather gloves and refusing to display their name badge - have used disproportionate force against peaceful community members showing their opposition to WestConnex.
Contractors have begun cutting down trees in Sydney Park, as part of the WestConnex project.
Greens Member for Newtown Jenny Leong MP joined community members at the Save Sydney Park Camp, where one resident is stationed in a tree in an act on nonviolent direct action.
Almost 40 per cent of New South Wales households are now renting, and more people than ever will be lifelong renters.
Member for Newtown and NSW Greens spokesperson on Rental Issues Jenny Leong MP explains why urgent reforms are needed to remove 'no grounds' evictions, to provide more security for renters in NSW.
At the last Inner West Council meeting of 2016, the Administrator Richard Pearson committed to spending half a million dollars toward modelling the impact of WestConnex on local streets and neighbourhoods.
“This is a welcome initiative and shows that local government shares the community’s concerns about how badly WestConnex will impact our neighbourhoods, said Jenny Leong MP, Member for Newtown and NSW Greens spokesperson on WestConnex.
“The RMS only plan to look at the impact of WestConnex 12 months after each stage has been opened - well after the traffic chaos and air quality impacts have occurred. Premier Baird’s appointed Administrator has called this wait-and-see approach, ‘totally unacceptable and inconsistent with the principles of modern environmental impact assessments’ and he should know, as he has come directly from the NSW Planning Dept.