Author Archives: pnggreens

Sylvie Ellsmore – Greens candidate for Sydney

Marrickville Councillor Sylvie Ellsmore is the preselected Greens Candidate for Sydney in the 2016 federal election.

You can find Sylvie on Facebook here. Visit the Greens for Sydney campaign website here. Read more

Council calls for stronger tenants’ rights

Post by Councillor Sylvie Ellsmore, Co-Chair of the Marrickville Council Affordable Housing Committee

I was proud earlier this month that Marrickville Council endorsed a detailed submission to the Residential Tenancies Act review, an important review of NSW’s key rental laws, developed through the Affordable Housing Committee.

The submission calls for a shakeup of current tenancy laws, to provide stronger rights and legal protection for tenants, including those living in share housing.

Read a copy of the submission HERE.

Council’s submission details the stark reality of the housing unaffordability crisis in the inner city and inner west, with an increasing number of people living in rental accommodation for the long term, rents continuing to rise much faster than CPI, and less than 1% of rental properties now considered ‘affordable’.

Council’s submission calls for an end to “no grounds” evictions – which would ensure that renters have a stronger right to stay in their homes, and there must be a valid reason for them to be evicted.

The current laws are not only unfair, but help drive up rental prices, because a landlord who wants to massively drive up the rent in one hit can simply kick out a tenant who doesn’t agree, and re-advertise at the higher rent.

For more information about the Greens work on housing affordability please see the campaign page.

MAKE A SUBMISSION TO THE COUNCIL BOUNDARY REVIEW HERE!

You are encouraged to support your local council and make a submission on the proposed amalgamation of Marrickville, Leichhardt and Ashfield Councils.

Click on this link to sign our sample submission and add your thoughts about the proposed amalgamation:

https://marrickvillegreens.wordpress.com/issue/save-marrickville-council/councilboundaryreviewsubmission/

Marrickville Council to be forcibly merged?

18 Dec 2015

The Baird Government has confirmed their plans for forced amalgamations of local councils across the state, in the face of growing community opposition.

According to the State Government’s plan, Marrickville Council will be merged with Ashfield and Leichhardt Councils. This is despite clear indications that residents in the Marrickville LGA do not want their Council to be merged and strong public statements by the Liberal Government before the election that they would not force amalgamations.

Member for Newtown Jenny Leong says:

“Residents expect good local representation. Under this plan the size of LGAs will increase dramatically, but the number of Councillors won’t. That will give residents less access to their Local Councillors, reducing the ability for local advocacy.

“Marrickville Council is known for delivering local services that cater to our community. We fear that those localised services, like Council run-childcare, community festivals – and the Magic Yellow Bus – are under threat.

“Our local community is known for being active and engaged. We know residents will not stay silent while the Baird Government attempts to take away their local council.

“Our office will be working with our Greens Councillors on Marrickville Council and residents to ensure that our message of “No Forced Amalgamations” is heard loud and clear at the public inquiry through the Boundaries Commission.”

Marrickville Greens Councillor Sylvie Ellsmore says:

“Council has surveyed residents again and again about the proposed mergers, and every time the community has said no.  Residents want the services and jobs Marrickville Council provides protected.

“Marrickville Council is the second largest employer in the Local Government Area. The State Government’s agenda is about cutting jobs, shrinking the real size of Local Councils by forcing us to cut the services we provide and reducing ‘red tape’ for developers.

“It’s important that the Mayor and all Councillors on Marrickville Council stand strong and do not roll over, making it easy for the Baird Government to inflict this forced merger on our community.

“Local Councils should not be the plaything of the Liberal Government. The announcement of such a huge reform just before Christmas makes it clear that the Liberal Government understands this is a deeply unpopular reform, even within their own party.

“This fight is far from over. The Greens will continue to take a strong stand with local residents to say ‘Amalgamations No Way!’.”

For more information on today’s announcement and the NSW Greens’ response read this statement from Greens Local Government Spokesperson David Shoebridge.

Community groups’ use of halls protected

 

The Greens on Marrickville Council have defeated a push by conservative Councillors to increase fees for community groups and local not for profit groups who use Council’s community meeting rooms and town halls.

Greens Councillor Sylvie Ellsmore said, “Marrickville Council currently has a policy of providing our community meeting rooms to local not for profit groups at a lower rate than commercial groups. Council also offers a limited number of fee waivers or free use of Council halls and spaces, using strict rules and an application process.

At the 1 December 2015 Council meeting Conservative Councillor Victor Macri, supported by Liberal Clr Rosana Tyler and business Independent Morris Hanna, unsuccessfully tried to overturn a Council decision to “… facilitate the use of [Council] town halls and community meeting rooms by local community groups and not for profits at minimal cost where possible [and] not increase fees …. without consultation with those groups that may be affected.”

Clr Ellsmore said, “Of course community groups and local not for profits are charged lower fees than commercial or out of area groups.

“We have had Council study after Council study[1] telling us local community and resident groups want more access to our town halls and meeting rooms, not less. The pressure on community groups has intensified over the last few years, with the State Government moving to charge commercial rents for use of its buildings, when previously it provided free or low cost access to community services.

“It is positive that the majority of the Councillors have rejected a suggestion of significant fee increases for not for profits last night.

“Council is currently investigating ways to attract more commercial users of our Town Halls – for local weddings and commercial events for example. Investigating these options will help Council raise some additional income. However, in doing this we cannot and must not push our local community & resident groups aside. Our Council halls should be for residents, first and foremost. They are community assets, and the community has a right to use them,” Clr Ellsmore said.

A copy of the hire fees for local not for profits is available on the Council website: http://www.marrickville.nsw.gov.au/en/outandabout/venues-for-hire/community-venue-hire-fees/. Not for profit hirers are charged $42 per hour, with regular hirers charged a lower fee.

Hire fees are publicly advertised each year, and residents are invited to make submissions before fee structures are adopted. The current Council policy does not differentiate between types of not for profit groups – but groups which are local get priority. The definition of not for profit covers local bushcare groups, book clubs, community services, charities, local political groups, wine tasting societies, religious groups and more.

More information:                 Clr Sylvie Ellsmore 0403 977 213

[1] See for example the “Recreation Needs Study” (2011) which found that access to small and medium sized meeting rooms was a key need in the community (available to download from http://www.marrickville.nsw.gov.au/Documents/Marrickville%20Assets/recreation%20needs%20research%20strategic%20directions%20for%20marrickville%20report.pdf). See also the “Pressures Facing Local Community Services Organisations 2015” Report provided to Council on 17 November 2015, which found for the second year running that access to affordable premises in the Marrickville LGA was one of the most pressing issues facing local community services.

Alice St Community Wins Development Battle

Residents on and around Alice St in Newtown are celebrating after the Land and Environment Court refused an appeal by the development company Al Maha to expand their Alice St development.

Al Maha’s Development Application (DA) to add additional storeys to the block was refused by Marrickville Council twice earlier this year. Both Council and surrounding residents are concerned that development beyond the approved 5-storeys will be too high-density for the area, where public space, amenities and public transport are already under pressure.

Al Maha went to the NSW Land and Environment Court to appeal Marrickville Council’s refusal of the expanded DA. This week the Court made a decision in Marrickville Council’s favour, which states that additional height requested by Al Maha “breaches building height and FSR development standards” and “introduces other undesirable amenity impacts.”

Read the full decision here: https://www.caselaw.nsw.gov.au/decision/565ba12be4b003c5681fb06d

Greens MP for Newtown Jenny Leong said:

“This is a fantastic victory for local residents who have worked together to fight Al Maha’s attempts to build more storeys despite serious community concern.

“Developers like Al Maha need to learn to listen to community concerns, instead of trying to force through their short-sited plans for gargantuan developments that improve their profits but wreck our suburbs.

“Marrickville Council made the right decision by knocking back the expanded DA – twice – and it’s shameful that Al Maha tried to take advantage of state planning laws that favour developers to push it through.

“It says a lot that even with biased planning laws that favour developers this expanded development didn’t get through.

“This outcome proves that communities shouldn’t sit back and let developers pillage their local areas. A concerted community campaign can make a real difference.

Greens Councillor for Marrickville Council David Leary said:

“Marrickville Councillors have been proud to work alongside the local community to ensure that the Alice St development remains at a reasonable density.

“We had good reasons to deny the expanded DA and we’re understandably happy with the decision of the Land and Environment Court.

 

20150604_alice-st-developemnt-action_high-res cropped

Marrickville Council rejects Parramatta Rd plan

2 December 2015, Marrickville Council has voted to reject the ‘Draft Parramatta Road Urban Transformation Strategy’, arguing that it fails to achieve genuine urban renewal, fails to address the affordable housing crisis, and will place significant pressure on already underfunded local infrastructure such as parks and schools.

The Greens motions accepted by Marrickville Council mean Council has formally rejected UrbanGrowth’s Parramatta Rd redevelopment strategy, and will call on the State Government to work collaboratively with Local Councils for genuine revitalisation of Parramatta Rd.

Greens Councillor Sylvie Ellsmore said, “The community is facing an onslaught of so-called ‘urban renewal’ plans from the Baird Liberal Government – all designed to deliver large profits for developers at the expense of local communities.

“This latest strategy aims to massively increased heights by overriding local Council’s strategies & removing the opportunity for residents to have a say.  In the Taverners Hill Precinct near Petersham for example, the existing 313 dwellings are earmarked to increase to 3,054 by 2050. Residential blocks up to 12 storeys will be located directly next to single storey dwellings,” she said.

Large public meetings were held across the local area in the weeks before the Council meeting. Greens MP for Newtown Jenny Leong spoke at the public meeting held at Petersham Bowling Club on 27 November 2015 organised by the ‘Help Save Lewisham’ group. Ms Leong said, “The State Government is not urban renewal, they’re doing property development. This plan is about allowing developers to make a profit out of our communities and neighbourhoods.”

Large public meetings were held across the local area in the weeks before the Council meeting. Greens MP for Newtown Jenny Leong spoke at the public meeting held at Petersham Bowling Club on 27 November 2015 organised by the ‘Help Save Lewisham’ group. Ms Leong said, “The State Government is not urban renewal, they’re doing property development. This plan is about allowing developers to make a profit out of our communities and neighbourhoods.”

Greens MPs Jamie Parker & Jenny Leong at Petersham Bowling Club, November 2015

Greens MPs Jamie Parker & Jenny Leong at Petersham Bowling Club, November 2015

 

Marrickville Council voted to make a damning submission to Urban Growth outlining key problems with the draft Parramatta Rd strategy.

Council’s submission highlights the lack of planning to ensure infrastructure like parks and schools will accompany any new development. The submission strongly criticises the suggestion that Parramatta Rd will become a walkable or cycle friendly road because of the planned WestConnex. Recent modelling shows WestConnex will actually redirect more traffic to Parramatta Rd, making it even more congested, because Parramatta Road will be one of the few remaining roads that won’t have a large toll imposed by the Liberal Government.

Council’s submission is also damning about the failure of the State Government to genuinely address affordable housing. Greens Councillor Sylvie Ellsmore said, “Council’s submission points out that the simplistic strategy of approving more apartment towers – and letting the market sort out the prices – has failed to deliver affordable housing.

“If anything this approach has helped drive the housing crisis in the inner west, and to concentrate more investment housing in the hands of the few.

“Council’s submission will also highlight that successive Labor and Liberal Government’s have failed to give Council the power to insist on affordable housing as part of urban renewal projects (inclusionary zoning). If the State Government is serious about affordable housing it must give Council’s this power, and set targets of at least 30% affordable housing,” Clr Ellsmore said.

Marrickville Council agreed to formally endorse and attach an alternative Parramatta Rd growth plan developed by local residents and the Help Save Lewisham Group, to Council’s submission.

More information:    Clr Sylvie Ellsmore 0403 977 213

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