Category Archives: Media

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

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:

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

Local firefighter Jim Casey Grayndler candidate 2016

Local Firefighter Jim Casey wins Greens preselection for Granydler, flags a strong community campaign on saving the climate, housing affordability, and stopping Westconnex.

Career firefighter Jim Casey has been preselected to contest the electorate of Grayndler for the Greens at the federal election next year.

Greens Leader Richard Di Natale has thrown his support behind Casey. “Jim has served proudly as a firefighter since 2001, and has stood up for the rights of his co-workers in his role with the NSW Fire Brigade Employees Union”, he said.

Casey, 45 has lived in inner Sydney for the last quarter century and is currently the State Secretary of the NSW FBEU. He lives with his partner and their two young children.

Commenting on the preselection outcome, Casey said he was honoured to be the Greens candidate and determined to put tremendous energy into winning the seat.

“As a firefighter I have seen with my own eyes increased extreme weather behaviour brought about by climate change.  We need action now.

“Sydney is a beautiful, diverse, and vibrant place. But it is at risk of becoming unliveable. We need to take on the challenge of housing affordability, of decent public infrastructure, and sustainable development if we want our city to remain a place for all.”

Di Natale adds, “Jim represents Greens values in action, and he would make a wonderful representative for the people of Grayndler.”

Further information: Jim Casey 0420 828 502 (Candidate), Django Merope Synge 0420 365 887 (Greens NSW)

1 December 2015

Marrickville to launch Asylum Seekers Community Passport

25 November 2015

Marrickville Council will develop a “community passport” for refugees and asylum seekers following a successful motion by the Greens at the November Council meeting. Greens Councillors Melissa Brooks and Sylvie Ellsmore jointly moved the motion for a partnership project with the Asylum Seekers Centre based in Newtown, which was passed unanimously by Council.

Greens Councillor Melissa Brooks said, “Marrickville Council has been a Refugee Welcome Zone since 2003. We proudly recognise the important contribution that people from refugee backgrounds make to our local culture, our economy and our society.

“The community passport will not only welcome asylum seekers and refugees entering our community, but will also provide a directory to local churches, mosques and parks, and provide free access to a range of Council services such as our pools and community programs. In time we hope the program expands to facilitate discounts and donations from local businesses and residents,” Clr Brooks said.

Councillor Ellsmore said, “By formalising Council’s support for refugees and asylum seekers in the form of a community guide or passport, Council will send a strong message to new arrivals to the community that they are welcome.

“For asylum seekers – many of whom have little or no access to financial support from the government and rely on charitable giving – it will provide much needed support,” Clr Ellsmore said.

Marrickville Council has an increasing number of refugees and asylum seekers living, working or visiting the LGA. A number of important community organisations who offer support to refugees and asylum seekers are located in or near the Marrickville LGA. In 2013 the Asylum Seekers Centre re-located to the Marrickville LGA. The Asylum Seekers Centre cares for approximately 1,500 asylum seeker clients per year, 70% of whom receive no government support whatsoever. For more information see the letter of support from the Asylum Seekers Centre.

The idea of Refugee and Asylum Seekers passport is modelled on a successful pilot program by the Melbourne City of Darebin Council.

More information:    Clr Sylvie Ellsmore 0403 977 213

Read a copy of the Greens Notice of Motion here: C1115 Item 24 – Notice of Motion Marrickville Community Passport for Refugees and Asylum Seekers.

Greens Councillors Sylvie Ellsmore (L) and Melissa Brooks (R) with Refugee Welcome signs which the Greens moved to install in Council buildings, 2014

Greens Councillors Sylvie Ellsmore (L) and Melissa Brooks (R) with Refugee Welcome signs which the Greens moved to install in Council buildings, 2014


Wed 11 November 2015

Marrickville Greens Councillors called on Inner West mayors to respect the resolutions of their Councils and continue to stand up against forced amalgamations, after the Councils adopted near identical resolutions that claim to resist amalgamations and to submit merger options under protest – with a view to them only being implemented if the Baird Government forces the issue.

Greens Councillor Sylvie Ellsmore said, “It’s clear that the vast majority of residents in the Inner West want their Council to stand alone and not merge and that’s the position that Marrickville Council took last night.”

The Greens voted against submitting a ‘Plan B’ merger for a Marrickville-Ashfield-Leichhardt Council, as the Greens believe that Councils should not be merged without a vote of affected residents.

Clr Ellsmore said, “The Greens are concerned that the Labor Mayors for Marrickville, Leichhardt and Ashfield have given the Minister for Local Government, Paul Toole, the impression that our Councils wish to merge, when the resolutions adopted by all three Councils last night explicitly opposed any voluntary amalgamation.

“Local Councils belong to their residents, not Premier Mike Baird. The community should decide on any merger.

“The Liberal Government would like nothing more than to abolish progressive inner city Councils like Marrickville and Leichhardt. It is these Councils that have stood up to WestConnex and will look out for the communities’ interest as the State Government pushes for open slather for development in significant ‘growth corridors’ through the Inner West.

“It is deeply disappointing that Labor Councillors have backed a Plan B merger option and are actively promoting it in the media.

“Only last month they were making strong public statements they would stand up and fight for their Councils. What has changed?

“The Liberal Government does not have the power to sack financially sound and successful Councils like Marrickville, and they have created bogus size and scale criteria to create an excuse to merge Councils. The Greens will continue to fight against forced amalgamations and the right of communities to determine the future of their Councils,” Clr Ellsmore said.

The Greens were successful in amending the motion to conduct a community consultation on the proposed plan B merger with Leichhardt and Ashfield Councils. A copy of the motion passed is below.

More information:    Clr Sylvie Ellsmore 0403 977 213

The formal statement from Marrickville Council outlining Council’s position can be found here:

The Greens encourage residents to make their voices heard by:

For more information see the Save Marrickville Council campaign page.

Motion passed




  1. Council reinforce to its community, staff and the NSW State Government that its preferred option is to stand alone and is fundamentally opposed to forced amalgamations;


  1. Given the legal predicament we now find ourselves in and the ultimatum issued by the NSW State Government, submit a first merger preference for Marrickville, Leichhardt and Ashfield Council and a second merger preference for Marrickville and City of Sydney Council by 18 November 2015;


  1. Council signal strongly to the State Government that it will:
    1. immediately withdraw its merger preferences if the State Government does not proceed with forced amalgamations;
    2. not support an Inner West Council amalgamation proposition comprising Marrickville, Leichhardt, Ashfield, Burwood, Strathfield and Canada Bay Councils under any circumstances;


  1. Council urgently undertake a community engagement process to inform residents of the latest developments. The community engagement process must highlight that Marrickville Council’s ongoing preferred option is to stand alone, and provide a genuine opportunity for residents to consider and provide feedback on the potential benefits and risks of an amalgamated Marrickville-Leichhardt-Ashfield Council, including through a survey and community information sessions; and


  1. A report be provided back to the first Council meeting in 2016.


Marrickville Council’s Public Toilets Strategy should not impose prison style toilets


12 November 2015

Greens Councillor Max Phillips is calling on Marrickville Council to ensure the new public toilet strategy will create public toilets people will be willing to use and to avoid the stainless steel, seatless prison-style designs.

The Marrickville Council Draft Public Toilet Strategy recommends that seatless stainless steel bowls be installed or replace porcelain toilets and toilets with seats.
The Strategy says on page 104:
Toilet Bowls
Toilet bowls shall be stainless steel and integrated with a
concealed cistern. New stainless steel bowls are not to have
seats or lids. New stainless bowl design shall be contoured
like a typical toilet seat for public comfort. Where ceramic
bowls are existing, retain bowl and seat until vandalised or up
for renewal and replace with a new stainless steel bowl at this
time. Where existing stainless steel bowls are in use without a
contoured seat, review maintenance and vandalism history to
determine whether a seat and lid is appropriate.
Toilet Seat and Lids
Toilet seats and lids are not required on new stainless steel
bowls. New bowls shall be contoured like a typical seat for
public comfort. Any existing stainless steel bowls that are not
contoured, where seats and lids are being considered, the
outcome should be reviewed on a case by case basis and
consider maintenance and vandalism history.

“Public toilets are crucial community infrastructure and the overall strategy is a good one, however, I am very concern it takes us in a wrong direction with the toilet types,” said Greens Councillor Max Phillips.

“While seatless stainless steel toilets may be the most cost effective type of toilet and resist vandalism best, they are utterly uninviting and will deter a large section of the public from using public toilets at all

“Seatless stainless steel toilets are what you’d find in a prison cell and I believe are inappropriate in a neighbourhood park or shopping precinct.
“I have seen excellent new public toilets with porcelain toilets and full, comfortable seats installed, good tiling and lighting around Sydney.  If other councils can manage to create public toilets that are clean and inviting to use, then so can Marrickville Council, even if it costs a little more or requires a bit more maintenance.

“If a toilet is utterly utilitarian from the outset, then people will treat it as such with the result being a disgusting toilet in a short period of time.  If we create toilets that are more akin to what you’d find in a private bathroom, then people will treat it with more respect.

“I’m urging my fellow Councillors to say NO to prison-style steel toilets for Marrickville and ensure the Public Toilet Strategy provides porcelain toilets with seats for the bottoms of our residents and visitors.”
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