Tag Archives: Marrickville

Marrickville steps up fight against forced mergers

Media release, 22 May 2015 

Marrickville Council has voted in favour of several Greens motions to step up Council’s fight against proposed amalgamations. The successful Greens’ motions (as attached) call on the State Government to urgently extend the rushed assessment process being applied to determine if Councils are ‘fit for the future’.

The motions also commit Council to organise urgent public meetings to explain how and why Marrickville Council is advocating that it remain independent. The first “town hall style” public meeting has been scheduled for 7.30pm, Wednesday 10 June at Petersham Town Hall.

Greens Councillor Sylvie Ellsmore moved the motions, which received support from all but the Liberal Councillor. Clr Ellsmore said, “Council has recently undertaken a consultation with our residents to get their views on the proposed “super inner west” Council, which would see Marrickville merged with Leichhardt, Ashfield, Burwood, Canada Bay and Strathfield Councils.

“The results are in, and residents are overwhelmingly opposed to the amalgamation of Marrickville Council. With over 4000 residents participating in the survey, this is the second strongest response to a Council survey ever received. Residents care about protecting Marrickville Council, and they want us to remain the successful independent Council that we are now”, she said.

The results of the survey found nearly three quarters of residents oppose the mergers. This is despite around 40% of residents identifying with the “inner west” as much as with their local suburb.  The consultation follows detailed modelling by Marrickville Council commissioned from Morris Low that shows that Marrickville Council will be more financially stable and meet a higher number of the suggested assessment criteria if it remains stand alone.

Clr Ellsmore said, “Councils in NSW are facing several looming deadlines imposed by the State Government in the supposed ‘independent’ process to assess whether Councils should be merged.

“The State Government has appointed the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) to develop criteria to test whether a Council is ‘fit’ or ‘unfit’, but these criteria fail to consider the criteria that residents care most about – such as whether Council delivers quality services or has the support of the community.

“It also sets arbitrary ‘scale’ criteria that suggest all small Councils like Marrickville Council will automatically fail the test, even if we meet all other criteria.

“The timelines for this assessment process are a joke. With submissions commenting on the assessment criteria due next week, IPART will have less than one week to consider Councils’ detailed submissions before finalising the assessment criteria. Councils will then have less than a month to respond to the final assessment criteria by the 30 June 2015 deadline.

“Does anyone really believe that IPART will be able to genuinely consider hundreds of details submissions, and respond, in one week? It appears this process is either set up to fail, or that the Liberal Government has already made its decision about forced amalgamations.

“No information has been provided to Councils about what will happen after IPART makes its final assessment, post 30 June 2015, about which Councils are ‘fit’ or ‘unfit’. Details of IPART’s reasons may not be publicly released, with suggestions that information will be sent straight to a secret Cabinet process for decision about whether or not to force the merger of Councils,” Clr Ellsmore said.

As a result of the Greens’ motions one or more public meetings will be held by the end of June and residents will be encouraged to make individual submissions in support of Council’s decision to stand alone. Meetings held in adjoining Councils have had strong attendance, with network of Councillors and residents across parties and areas developing to actively fight the amalgamations push.

For comment: Clr Sylvie Ellsmore 0403 977 213

Copies of the Community Engagement Report from the latest consultation of residents can be downloaded from the Council website at http://www.marrickville.nsw.gov.au/en/council/elected-council/business-papers/ (Item 6, 19 May 2015 Council meeting)

Copies of the Morris Low ‘Fit for the Future – Shared Modelling’ Report comparing the business case for Marrickville Council as a standalone Council to the proposed innerwest Council can be downloaded from the Council’s website at http://www.marrickville.nsw.gov.au/en/council/newsandnotices/local-government-amalgamations/

Or on the Marrickville Council page of the “No Forced Amalgamations” website established by Leichhardt Council about the joint modelling developed cooperatively across the inner west Councils – https://noforcedmergers.wordpress.com/
GREENS MOTIONS 19 May 2015, Marrickville Council

Item 5 – Fit for the Future – IPART


  1. Council endorse the points raised in this report [the staff report] for the purposes of making a format submission to IPART by 25 May 2015.
  2. Council’s submission also highlights that the assessment criteria should be amended to:
    1. Drop the minimum population requirement of 250,000 being proposed for many metropolitan Councils;
    2. Include a criteria which provides for Councils to demonstrate how they are delivering scale through regional coordination (for example through SSROC);
    3. Include criteria to measure the scope and quality of services delivered by Local Councils; and
    4. Include criteria to measure community’s satisfaction with their Local Council.
  3. Council urgently write to the Premier and the Minister for Local Government expressing concern about the process, in particular the timeframes that will give IPART less than one week to consider Councils’ submissions before finalising the assessment criteria, and give Councils less than a month to respond to the final assessment criteria once it is released.

Item 6 – Fit for the Future Community Engagement Report


  1. Council receives and notes the Community Engagement Report; and
  2. based on Community feedback, Council Officers develop the business case for Marrickville to be a stand-alone entity and present a summary of that case at the 9 June Council Meeting.
  3. Council organise one or more a public information meetings for residents before the end of June 2015 to provide information on Council’s updated position and the business case; and
  4. Council otherwise take steps to make this information accessible to local residents and to encourage residents to make individual submissions to the IPART Review in support of Council’s position.

Greens move for giant slip & slide for Marrickville Festival

Update! Marrickville Council votes unanimously to trial the Slip and Slide at the 2015 Marrickville Festival. For more info see the media release before the vote, below, and watch this space!
Marrickville Greens – media release
11 March 2015
Greens Councillor Max Phillips is moving a motion for Marrickville Council to investigate hiring a giant slip and slide for the 2015 Marrickville Festival, saying such an attraction would add a new and fun element to the popular festival.
Recently various cities in Australia and overseas have enjoyed a street slide, or giant slip and slide. The street slide takes the very Australian backyard Summer tradition of a few sheets of plastic, detergent and a hose to the next level. It offers up to 315 metres of slip-sliding fun.
“I saw some news footage of a giant slip and slide being enjoyed in Perth and immediately thought how cool would it be to have one run down Marrickville or Illawarra Road at the next Marrickville Festival,” said Greens Councillor Max Phillips.
“The Marrickville Festival is often held on a scorching hot day and I think this attraction would be enjoyed by both our younger residents, and the young-at-heart.
“I understand these giant slip & slides started as an art installation in the United Kingdom, but has since evolved into a commercial operations that can install a slide overnight and recycle the water they use.
“Marrickville Council has adopted the Sunday Streets idea where  roads are reclaimed for physical and fun activities.  What could be more fun than a giant slip & slide?”
Contact: Max Phillips 0419 444 916

Labor & Liberal Councillors push Victoria Road rezoning and dismiss Department of Planning directive

Marrickville Greens – Media release

4 February 2015

The Marrickville Greens Councillors today expressed their grave concern at the decision by Labor and Liberal Councillors to dismiss a Department of Planning request to withdraw the proposal to rezone 18 hectares of industrial land to high density residential in the Victoria Road Precinct Marrickville, and to instead push the developer’s proposal by trying to arrange a lobbying meeting between the development consortium and the Department of Planning.

After considering the rezoning proposal for gateway assessment, the Department of Planning wrote to Marrickville Council to “request Council withdraw the planning proposal to incorporate the recommendations of the [Employment Lands] study and allow for further investigation of the strategic merit of retaining the Victoria Road industrial lands in the context of the broader local government area and subregion”

“I am very concerned that Councillors made a decision to push the interests of developers over the significant, clear and strong advice from the Department of Planning, Council’s own planners, and the conclusions of the Employment Lands Study,” said Greens Councillor Max Phillips.

“The Department of Planning’s response was crystal clear that the rezoning proposal developed by the consortium was flawed in multiple ways, would not get through the gateway process and that it should be withdrawn. Councillors have thumbed their nose at this directive and instead moved to help lobby for the developer’s high-rise plans.

“We have left the realm of genuine, logical debate, and entered the strange world where certain Councillors are actively trying to use their power to do favours for a development consortium. Residents should be very concerned.

“The resolution passed by Council 7-5 rejects the Department of Planning’s request to withdraw the rezoning proposal and requires Marrickville Council staff to arrange and facilitate a meeting between the development consortium and the Department of Planning.

“These Councillors are effectively forcing Council staff to act as lobbyists for a private developer. This creates a major conflict for Council’s planning staff whose assessment recommended rejection of the rezoning proposal.

“The Greens want Council to heed the request of the Department of Planning to withdraw the rezoning proposal and initiate its own review of the precinct with the broader community interest in mind.”

The vote on the resolution was:
For Gardiner, Tyler, Macri, Hanna, Woods, Iskandar, Barbar.
Against: Phillips, Leary, Brooks, Ellsmore, Haylen.

Contact: Cr Max Phillips 0419 444 916

Council should take control of Victoria Road precinct planning

Marrickville Greens – media release

20 January 2015
Greens Councillor Max Phillips today welcomed news that the Department of Planning had rejected the proposed developer driven rezoning of the Victoria Road Precinct in Marrickville and said that Marrickville Council should now commence its own planning review rather than wait for the developer to submit revised plans.
“It was no surprise that the Victoria Road precinct failed to pass through the Department of Planning’s gateway process given it was badly flawed and and more of an ambit claim for developers dreaming of mountains of profit,” said Greens Councillor Max Phillips.
“It’s vital that Marrickville Council now re-assert its role as the planning authority and representative of the broader community interest, by commencing its own planning review of the Victoria Road precinct.
“The Employment Lands Study has been delivered and found that the precinct was an important part of Sydney’s position as a global city and generates considerable employment.  It concluded that the precincts location close to the CBD, airport and sea port, made it incredibly strategic land for industry in Sydney.
“This study provides a clear direction for Council to promote a positive evolution and rejuvenation of this area.
“Council has an important role to bring together disparate visions for the precinct and conduct a genuinely strategic planning review in the long-term and broader interest of the community.
“The Greens moved to begin such a review in November 2014, but other Councillors wanted to wait until the Department of Planning had completed its gateway assessment. Now that assessment is complete, there should be no more excuses for Council to begin its own planning review,” he said.
Contact: Councillor Max Phillips – 0419 444 916

Labor’s WestConnex – 2002-2011

By Max Phillips, Marrickville Greens Councillor and candidate for Summer Hill.

Labor Party politicians are running around with many different positions on the WestConnex motorway.  Sometimes they support it.  Sometimes they oppose.  Sometimes they oppose it “in its current form”.  Sometimes they just oppose the consequences of the motorway, but not the actual motorway itself.

When Labor were in power, they supported WestConnex – under the names of M4 East, M5 East and the Marrickville Truck Tunnel. WestConnex is not new, it is at least 12 years old. 12 October 2004, Sydney Morning Herald:

A tunnel under Marrickville is the next possible link in Sydney’s road-building program, joining the M4 to Port Botany and eventually creating a tollway from the airport to Strathfield and west to Penrith.

The Marrickville truck tunnel, which would run under Sydenham Road and join Parramatta Road in Lewisham with the Princes Highway at St Peters, may be considered as part of the planning process for the M4 East.A Roads and Traffic Authority options study review into the M4 East says another link is necessary to relieve environmental pressures on Marrickville and provide better connections to Sydney Airport and Port Botany.  […]

Marrickville Council will tonight consider a report recommending the State Government assess the four-kilometre truck tunnel during the preparation of the environmental impact statement for the M4 East.

The Greens have always opposed a new motorway carving up the Inner West.  We believe investment in public transport is a far superior option that will result in a healthier and more liveable city.  The community has also consistently opposed the various motorway plans.

2005 F6 leaflet

In 2009, then Road Minister Michael Daley said: “We would love to build the M4 extension and if we can secure the help of the Federal Government then we will.”  Rather Ironically Michael Daley is now Shadow Roads Minister.

In 2005, the Greens campaigned against the tunnel producing this leaflet to the left. At the 2007 state election the plans were still being developed, but being kept secret by the Labor government.  The Greens were still campaigning against expanded motorways and a tunnel under Marrickville and produced the colour leaflet below.

The map on the back shows you just how similar Labor’s plans were to the current government’s plans.  A tunnel under Ashfield and Haberfield, an interchange somewhere between Lewisham and Annandale, a tunnel that surfaces around Camdenville Park and Campbell Street, St Peters, and finally another motorway to join up with the M5 or an F6 running south through Rockdale.

That’s partly because both the current government and the former Labor government push plans prepared by the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) and Treasury.

The RTA just love roads, and their whole aim is to prioritise motor vehicle traffic.  They have a one-track engineering mind which is not necessarily good for Sydney’s transport problems.

Treasury also love roads because much of the costs are privatised with individuals.  They particularly love private toll roads, because then even less burden is on the Treasury.  Building and operating heavy rail or other forms of public transport place a burden on the Treasury, so they do not favour public transport unless forced to by their political masters.

Labor politicians are extremely skilled at ‘narrow-casting’.  Narrow-casting is saying one thing locally to a specific audience (Inner West voters), while saying or doing another thing more broadly.

A classic example of narrow-casting was local Marrickville Labor’s opposition to the third runway at Sydney Airport, while a federal Labor government built the very same third runway.

In 2010, Tempe residents gathered and rallied against an extended M5.  I marched proudly behind the Marrickville Council banner.  In a very orchestrated manoeuvre, local MP Carmel Tebbutt, then Deputy Premier, announced that the project would be abandoned.  Labor had saved Tempe from … Labor’s plans for a motorway – go figure.

Narrow-casting is what Labor are doing now.  Labor candidate for Newtown, Penny Sharpe is horrified by the implications for King Street Newtown of the M5 East, but her position on WestConnex is unclear.  Labor candidate for Summer Hill Jo Haylen says she is against WestConnex “in its current form”, but for the widening of the M4.  Labor Councillor Chris Woods is trying to stop the widening of Campbell Street, St Peters, despite his party’s support for the WestConnex project (presumably the Labor version of WestConnex would magically not have any polluting exhaust stacks or traffic dumping on/off portals.).

Local federal member for Grayndler, Anthony Albanese takes out the hypocrisy award for complaining about the impacts of a motorway to which he offered $1.8 billion towards its construction when he was infrastructure minister.

I don’t begrudge these convoluted positions, and it is good when politicians respond to community sentiment – but it is a bit disingenuous to pretend to be champions against the WestConnex motorway and its various local impacts, when your party actually supports the very same motorway.

I hope voters have long memories and can see Labor trying to walk both sides of the street on WestConnex.

Old tunnel leaflet-small  Old tunnel leaflet-small2

Greens move for Council to conduct its own planning review for Victoria Road precinct

Marrickville Greens – Media Release

12 November 2014

Greens move for Council to conduct its own planning review for Victoria Road precinct

Greens Councillor Max Phillips will move a notice of motion for Marrickville Council to commence its own independent review of the zoning and development controls for the Victoria Road precinct once the employment lands study has been received, in a move designed to provide an alternative vision to that of developer driven proposal currently being reviewed by the Department of Planning.

The motion reads:

That Council:


  1. Notes the public meeting regarding the development of the Victoria Road precinct that occurred at the Red Rattler Theatre on 30 September;


  1. Notes the formation of the Marrickville Community Planning Collectivewhich aims to engage residents, businesses and other stakeholders in planning issues;


  1. Resolves to commence its own independent review of the zoning and development controls for the Victoria Road precinct once the Employment Lands Study has been received.

Councillor Max Phillips said: “The Greens believe it is important for Council to conduct its own community orientated planning review of the zonings and developments controls for the Victoria Precinct so as to provide an alternative to the developer driven plans currently being assessed.

“The Council’s creative industry study has already been received, while the employment lands study will soon be finalised. This provides the perfect opportunity for Council to conduct a holistic and strategic review of the precinct.

“Council plays an important role in the strategic review and development of development controls, and the Victoria Road precinct should be no different.  If we leave it to a developer to conduct the review, we have essentially privatised strategic planning of an important area in Marrickville,

“The plans developed by the Danias Holdings led consortium are driven by the profit motive, which is not necessarily in the broader and long-term interests of Marrickville residents, business and workers.

The motion was developed in conjunction with the Marrickville Community Planning Collective who are working to ensure broader community interests are represented and injected into planning reviews of the Victoria Road precinct.

Council has previously drafted a master plan for the McGill Street precinct in Lewisham when confronted by a sizeable Lewisham Towers project.  Since its adoption, this master plan has been an important reference point for planning authorities and the community.

Contact: Max Phillips 0419 444 916

Historical signs installed

Max & historical sign Petersham Town Hall

Cr Max Phillips with a historical sign at the “new” Petersham Town Hall.

One of the best parts of being a local Councillor is seeing your ideas take concrete form in our community.  In late 2012, I moved a motion for Council to install pictorial signs around the municipality to make people aware of the area’s history and evolution.  I think history is important and wanted to bring it out of the dusty archives and into the streets.

Last week Council official launched the signs with a brief tour around Petersham with the Marrickville Historical Society.

max & historical sign

Cr Max Phillips with a sign in Maundrell Park.

The Inner West has a fascinating history,  and many buildings or relics still remain.  Understanding local history can give a greater sense of place for both residents and visitors.

19 signs have now been installed around the municipality, and I hope the number continue to expand.  Eventually I’d like to see a Marrickville historical trail that people can walk, cycle or drive between the signs and enjoy our rich history.

Sometimes things take a while to happen on local council, but when they do happen it is great.

You can read a media release from when these signs were originally funded here.

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