Tag Archives: Sylvie Ellsmore

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.

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

Marrickville Council Gender Equity Push

Women Councillors on Marrickville Council have stepped up the push for gender equity, with the establishment of a women’s committee and a range of other actions to promote gender equality and “unconscious bias”.

Greens Councillor Sylvie Ellsmore said, “Local government is a very challenging environment for women Councillors and Council staff, particularly younger women.

“The motions passed at Marrickville Council at the November Council meeting commit us to not only be more active on issue affecting women in our community, such as domestic violence, and to be more actively working towards equity in Council staffing, but also address issues for our elected women Councillors. If we want politics to change, this is vitally important.

“Politics is often blokey and adversarial. However, unlike State and Federal Parliament, in Local Councils the bloke who decides to lose his temper and scream at you can be sitting less than a metre away. This behaviour is rarely pulled up by the chair of the meeting. We wouldn’t stand for it in another workplace, why is this kind of aggression accepted in politics?” Clr Ellsmore said.

Marrickville Greens Councillor Melissa Brooks has previously spoken out about bullying on Marrickville Council*. Clr Brooks said, “The behaviour of many Councillors is still a shock for people who witness Council meetings.

“Bad behaviour, aggression, heckling and yelling is normalised. And this behaviour is overwhelmingly driven by the male Councillors.

“If we want more women to run for Council, or for current women Councillors to think of running again, we have to seriously discuss these issues and take active steps to change the culture. It is sector-wide problem,” Clr Brooks said.

The measures were passed at the November Marrickville Council meeting with the support of Greens, Labor and the female Liberal Councillor. It was opposed by the two former conservative Mayors, Clr Mark Gardiner and Clr Victor Macri.


More information:       Clr Sylvie Ellsmore 0403 977 213, Clr Melissa Brooks 0409 235 802

Click here to read the OPINION PIECE by Councillor Melissa Brooks “Time to end the male-dominated bullying on our councils”, April 29, 2014

A copy of the motion passed by Council is below.

At the last NSW Local Council elections (2012) only 27% of the elected representatives across the state were female. There was no increase in female representation since the last elections (2008). 1 in 3 (ie 33%) of the current Marrickville Councillors are women, and Marrickville has had two female Mayors (for a one year term each, one Green and one ALP). The current Deputy Mayor is Liberal Councillor Rosana Tyler.

The Greens are the only major political party in NSW to have achieved gender equality in elected representation- more than 50% of our Local Councillors in NSW are women and 50% of Greens NSW State MPs are women.

In terms of women’s employment and elected women Councillors, Marrickville Council has stronger gender equity than the average for Councils. A majority of staff are women, though only 1 of 6 current senior managers are female. Marrickville Council has previously had one female General Manager for a period. The measures passed aim to move to at least 50% gender equity in Council staffing including at senior/ management levels.

A copy of the report outlining the staffing statistics can be found on the 17 November Council meeting papers at http://www.marrickville.nsw.gov.au/en/council/elected-council/business-papers/.

At a NSW state level, the heckling and abuse targeted at the (female dominated) Greens Council contingent at a 2014 NSW Local Government Conference led to the Australian Local Government Women’s Association to write to the President of Local Government NSW “seeking confirmation that the heckling and bullying behaviour (towards some of the delegates) that occurred at last year’s conference 2014 and that the Code of Conduct is fairly applied and delegates be treated with respect by the Chair.”







Motion: (Brooks/Ellsmore)


  1. THAT Council endorses the final program for activities to promote gender equity contained in this report with the following additions:


  1. The establishment of a Marrickville Council Women’s Committee. The committee is to include: co-chairs or rotating chairs – with the positions to be held by elected women Councillors; two or more community representatives; and at least one female representative of staff. The Terms of Reference for the committee will include the promotion of gender equity in the civil, civic and political life of the Marrickville LGA and within Marrickville Council;


  1. Council to include in its standard reporting for gender equality in staffing measures of opportunities for women staff to undertake higher duties or secondments, including part-time staff; and


  1. THAT Council receive a further report recommending detailed Terms of Reference and membership of the Women’s Committee, to be considered at a Council meeting in the first quarter of 2016.


Gender 20:20 Program actions from the report, $15,000 budget:


  1. Unconscious Bias Program (for Councillors and staff)


  1. Supervision – gender issues (course in cooperation with Federal Workplace Gender Equality Agency)


  1. Female Speakers Program “Lunch and Learn” as well as Breakfast sessions led by women will be held monthly on a range of topics and areas of expertise (with neighbouring Councils)


  1. 5 year career plan group (Council staff)


Motion Carried

For Motion: Councillors Barbar, Brooks, Ellsmore, Iskandar, Leary, Phillips, Tyler and Woods

Against Motion: Councillors Gardiner and Macri Absent: Councillor Hanna


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

Contract deal a community win for marrickville library

Media Release 13 October 2015

Following a campaign stretching over many years, the Greens on Marrickville Council have welcomed the signing of a historic contract to re-develop the old Marrickville hospital site, the key final step in committing Council to build the long promised new library, park and affordable housing on the site.

Greens Councillor Max Phillips said, “We fought the last election on a platform of investing in our community. We promised to build a new library, to invest in affordable housing and in quality open space. Today we are so proud to see that vision turning into a reality.

“Marrickville Council has signed a detailed contract which ensures this project will be built in line with the concept designs picked by the community last Council term. The new library site will have a park opening onto Marrickville Rd, a library and multi-purpose community hub, and a mix of community and retail uses. I am confident it will become a thriving new heart for our community,” Clr Phillips said.

Greens Councillor Sylvie Ellsmore, Co-Chair of Council’s Affordable Housing Committee, said, “This decision is a huge win for our community. We will have over $60 million of benefits delivered for the community. It is the largest single investment ever undertaken by Marrickville Council.

“The development of site will come at no cost to Council and will protect the significant heritage buildings – the Old Marrickville Hospital site and Nurses Quarters – which will be retrofitted as the new library and community hub. And importantly, those community facilities, the park and the affordable housing will stay in public ownership,” she said.

The project has a long and tumultuous history. Marrickville Council has owned the site, earmarked to build a new library, for 20 years. Council had invested more than $1 million undertaking a design competition and preparatory works for the new library and park last Council term.

However following the 2012 Local Government elections a number of different options were canvased for the site by the newly elected Council, including building residential development at the front of the site (Marrickville Rd) where the library and park was planned, and residential rather than public uses for the heritage buildings. A numbers of unsolicited bids to sell the whole site to a private developer were received, but were rejected following a community outcry.

Clr Phillips said, “This final decision, which received unanimous support from all Councillors, returns Council to the original vision for the site. This is what we have been fighting for and we have now, finally, engaged a developer to get on and build the project. It is a huge win for our local residents and the future of our community,” said Clr Phillips.

More information:   Clr Sylvie Ellsmore 0403 977 213 and Clr Max Phillips 0419 444 916

What the final decision means:

At its Council meeting on Tuesday 6th October Marrickville Council approved the terms of a contract with developer Mirvac to develop the entire site, including the public aspects and private residential and commercial development at the back of the site. The contracts were formally signed by Council and Mirvac today.

One of the concept images for the library opening up to a sunken park/ public square, corner of Livingstone Rd and Marrickville Rd, by BVN Architects, 2012

One of the concept images for the library opening up to a sunken park/ public square, corner of Livingstone Rd and Marrickville Rd, by BVN Architects, 2012

As a result of the arrangement Council will retain over $64m in value from the redevelopment of the site made up of:

  1. the construction of a new library, community hub, open space and associated car-parking opening onto Marrickville Road;
  2. the provision of 4% affordable housing (currently estimated at 9 apartments (3x1bedroom, 5×2 bedroom and 1×3 bedroom);
  3. a cash payment;
  4. land retained by Council as part of the redevelopment; and
  5. residential development at the back of the site.

The historic main hospital building and the old nurse’s quarters will be fully conserved and reused as part of the redevelopment and the old hospital lane will be retained as a central access spine through the development site. Entry and exit of vehicles is expected to be from Livingstone Road.

The developer was selected following a competitive tender process which assessed applicants against their ability to deliver key aspects of the project which included the concept for the new library selected by the community (known as the ‘BVN design’), new open space and affordable housing.

View of winning design from Lilydale Street, showing the historic Marrickville Hospital main building and Nurses Quarters, with additions. St Brigid's Church across Marrickville Rd is shown on the left.

View of winning design from Lilydale Street, showing the historic Marrickville Hospital main building and Nurses Quarters, with additions. St Brigid’s Church across Marrickville Rd is shown on the left.

Following the competitive process Council resolved to work with the most suitable applicant – Mirvac – on a non-complying tender which will see the project delivered quickly and at no cost to the community.

For details of the Greens campaign for the project see https://marrickvillegreens.wordpress.com/issue/library-and-community-hub/.

For details of the history of the project, including the stages and key milestones to get to this point, and images of the plans see the Marrickville Council website at http://www.marrickville.nsw.gov.au/en/development/major-projects/new-library-and-community-hub/

The full concept model of the project by Mirvac which indicates the scale of residential development on the back of the site and how it interacts with the community design for the library has been on public display and will be available again at the Marrickville Library later in the week.

Marrickville Councillors and staff inspect preparation works at the Old Marrickville Hospital Site, 2012

Marrickville Councillors and staff inspect preparation works at the Old Marrickville Hospital Site, 2012

Sunday Streets in Sydney

The Greens support the community campaign to close some of our main streets to cars on Sundays, several times a year.

Sunday Streets in Sydney, which is also known as Summer Streets in the USA and Ciclovia is a free, fun and healthy event that reclaims the city’s largest public space – its streets – and effectively turns them into public parks for the day.

Sunday Streets in the USA

Sunday Streets in the USA

Sunday Streets helps build community by giving streets back to the people, so that they may use them for walking, bicycling, dancing, playing, and having a chat. It brings significant economic benefits to local businesses on high streets as thousands of people come out to explore them.

On 18 March 2014, the Greens on Marrickville Council successfully moved a motion in support of Sunday Streets, with a likely trail before the end of 2014 including streets in Newtown and Enmore. A copy of the Notice of Motion is below.

Sign up to the Sunday Streets in Sydney FaceBook page for more information. You can also click here to sign the Sunday Streets Petition.

Sunday Streets is endorsed by BIKESydney, Bike Leichhardt, Go! Alliance, Cycle Sydney, Ecotransit Sydney, Bicycle NSW, Aboutlife Natural Marketplace, the Balmain/Rozelle Chamber of Commerce, The Global Map of Musicians, the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils, Cheeky Transport, La Latina Sydney and the Sydney Latin American Film Festival.

Mass free yoga event in Mexico 'Open Streets'

Mass free yoga event in Mexico ‘Open Streets’

Contact Marrickville Greens Councillor Sylvie Ellsmore or Leichhardt Greens Councillor Daniel Kogoy

Notice of Motion March 2014

MOVED BY: Clr Sylvie Ellsmore


That Council:

  1. Supports in principle the establishment of Sunday Streets in the Marrickville Local Government Area, a program which temporarily closes down main streets to cars so that they can be used by pedestrians, cyclists and families others as meeting places, informal public squares, playgrounds, recreation areas and cultural activities;
  2. Engages in discussions with neighbouring Leichhardt Council, City of Sydney Council and the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils about their current work to explore or develop Sunday Streets;
  3. Organises a meeting and otherwise undertakes consultation with groups who have expressed public support for Sunday Streets, including the Ciclovia Working Group, the Bicycle Garden, Organic Food Markets, Cheeky Transport, Bike Marrickville & BikeSydney;
  4. Consults with local business associations including the Newtown Business Precinct Association about the project;
  5. Provides support for activities to implement a trial or pilot of Sunday Streets in the second half of 2014, in coordination with Leichhardt and City of Sydney Council, including supporting grant applications by local bike groups, and investigating potential local streets in the Marrickville Local Government Area which could be included in the event; and
  6. Considers a further report about possible options to implement a trial of a Sunday Streets program in the LGA in the second half of 2014, including budget implications for Marrickville Council.


Sunday Streets is a program that temporarily removes cars from some main streets, and opens them up to everything else, typically for about six hours on a Sunday. It goes by various names including Ciclovia, Open Streets, Streets Alive, and Summer Streets.

Part festival, part fun ride, part playground – people walk, run, cycle, skate, rollerblade and play in the streets. There can be a variety of street stalls, live music, arts and culture, and other recreational activities – such as climbing walls, dance, yoga and aerobics classes – staged at various parts of the route.

The aim of the program is to encourage the community come together and undertake healthy activities. Research published in the Journal of Urban Health found a cost benefit ratio of $2.32 in health benefits from San Francisco’s Sunday Streets.

The event is not commercially focused – it does not generally involve commercial street stalls – but can provide economic benefits to the businesses who are based along the Sunday Streets by increasing pedestrian traffic.

In 2013 SSROC, of which Marrickville Council is a member, unanimously endorsed Sunday Streets, and committed to investigate it across inner west Councils.

For more details refer to the SSROC’s 20 June 2013 meeting, and the proposed joint Leichhardt and Marrickville pilot Sunday streets/Ciclovia event http://www.ssroc.nsw.gov.au/PDF/20130620%20FINAL%20SPC%20Business%20Paper%20(website).pdf

A large number of local Councils members have joined Leichhardt Council, which is taking the lead on the project in partnership with local cycling groups, in committing to a trial of Sunday Streets, including City of Sydney, Woollahra Council and Randwick Council.

Leichhardt Council passed a motion in support of establishing Sunday Streets (also known as “Ciclovia” in reference to the successful international movement or “Open Streets”), as a regular program to close off some streets to car traffic each Sunday in order for community recreation activities to be held, in February 2013. Leichhardt has incorporated ‘Ciclovia’ in its Employment and Economic Development Plan.

In late 2013 the City of Sydney agreed to investigate closing some of its main streets for a trial in 2014, including the potential to close major roads such as George St.

Sunday Streets in the USA

Mass free yoga event at Mexico ‘Open Streets’

In a related event in September 2013 Leichhardt and City of Sydney Councils supported closing some local streets for International [Park]ing Day on 20 September 2013. In the Marrickville LGA small [Park]ing Day events were organised by resident to show their support.

Park[ing] Day King Street Newtown

With the Marrickville LGA having one of the smallest ratios of public space to residents of any Local Council, innovative ways to encourage the community to come together are important to ensuring we maintain our health, vibrant communities.

For more information see:

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