Time to correct the record

We are again seeing the political parties and vested interests spreading misinformation in the last weeks of this election campaign. There have been misleading statements made that deserve clear and honest responses.

Council support for the Surry Hills Library and Redfern Oval

In a recent election flier I illustrated how the Greens, Labor and Liberal Councillors all opposed our plans for the acclaimed and much loved Surry Hills Library, Community and Childcare Centre and the revitalisation of Redfern Park and Oval.

The Greens say that's not true. The fact is Labor, Liberal and Greens consistently opposed the City's preferred designs and plans for both projects.

At the end of the day, while they may have voted in favour of the projects at the final Development Application stage, the fact remains Labor, Liberal and Greens tried to block the award-winning designs you see today.

The debates were long and acrimonious and they tried to block progress numerous times. In the end I had to use my casting vote so that the projects could proceed to the next stage.

The truth is, these projects would never have progressed to DA stage if the Greens had had their way.

Surry Hills Library and Community Centre

On Monday 7 May 2007 Councillor Harris voted with Labor and Liberal to block the project (page 328), using the time-honoured tradition of trying to bury it in an impossible review to get more in the project for less cost.

Redfern Park and Oval

On 21 November 2005, Clr Harris voted with Labor on an amendment to increase the size of the grounds from 8000 to 12,000. This was followed by an amendment to change the number of undercover seats from 700 to 2500. This was followed by an amendment to retain perimeter fencing.

There were several other amendments, with Clr Harris consistently voting against the Independent Team. Harris then voted against the Motion.

At the time of the tender on the design consultancy, 10/4/2006, there was another attempt to revisit the debate, supported by Clr Harris. He voted against the tender for the design work.

Fitzroy Gardens playground

Last year the Council decided not to proceed with a planned upgrade of Fitzroy Gardens. Since that time I have been lobbied by many parents who live in the area to upgrade the run down children's playground in the Garden.

The City has worked on a draft concept and asked the community for input. Sadly a few people have decided to politicise the proposal. Here are some facts:

  • The playground was much larger when the Gardens were first built and the increase proposed will have no impact on the heritage items of the Garden.
  • No trees will be removed to make room for the playground and access will not be blocked.

All we are trying to do is upgrade a small playground so that local children have a safe and welcoming place to spend some time.

CATA & Living Sydney

Living Sydney candidate Angela Vithoulkas claims she has had nothing to do with the Consumers and Tax Payers Association (CATA).

But the organiser of the rally, Jacques Laxale has said a number of times that he had discussions with the Chairman of Living Sydney, Barry Goldman, about CATA's support for Ms Vithoulkas.

Despite the links between Living Sydney and CATA (who are responsible for rallies where crowds call our Prime Minister a witch, a liar and much worse), the Labor party have decided to enter into a preference deal with Living Sydney.

Labor says it made this deal because the two parties share values on a range of issues including the 'environment'.

If that were the case why would a group that runs a website called 'stopcarbonlies' throw their support behind Living Sydney?

It's a fact that Alan Jones (who has also endorsed Living Sydney) and CATA are vehemently opposed to action on climate change and the Federal Labor Government's price on carbon.

I am proud of my record of action on climate change. It is one of the greatest challenges of our time and my team has a strong plan to take action.

I fear if Living Sydney get in, our work to reduce carbon pollution by 70%, to invest in low-carbon and renewable energy and to prepare our city for future droughts by reducing and reusing clean drinking water will be abandoned .

City support for social and affordable housing

Some people are claiming that the Council wants to reduce the numbers of public housing in the city. This is simply not true.

While social housing is the responsibility of Housing NSW and the NSW Government the City of Sydney is committed to ensuring all people in our community have access to decent housing.

We have set an ambitious but achievable target that 7.5 per cent of all housing in the City of Sydney in 2030 will be social housing. This will maintain the current number of social housing homes and provide for an increase of about 600 new social housing homes by 2030.

Affordable rental housing for lower income workers is also essential and in 2006 comprised only 2 per cent of the total number of dwellings in Sydney.

We are aiming to increase the number of affordable housing homes to 7.5 per cent of total dwellings by 2030 to ensure key workers such as nurses, teachers, cleaners and police officers can continue to live close to employment, transport and education.

The City is aiming for 3000 new affordable housing homes in the city area - so far we have approved 900 including 50 in Harold Park; 100 in Green Square; 120 in Redfern; 104 in Camperdown and around 550 under the City's affordable housing levy scheme.

I don't make preference deals, instead I ask voters to look closely at the policies, record and backers of all candidates so they can make their mind up themselves.

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