Clover's eNews - No 590

This week Don Page, Minister for Local Government, introduced the Local Government Amendment Bill - legislation designed to deny the people of NSW a right they have had since 1856 - the right to elect the person of their choice to both local and state governments.

I understand that the Labor Party and the Greens will oppose the legislation, however, with the support of Fred Nile and the Shooters Party it is likely to pass the upper house.

I have been proud to serve as a local MP since 1988 and as Lord Mayor of Sydney since 2004. Over the last four elections you have shown your trust and support of my work in both roles championing issues that others would prefer to ignore and fighting for progressive policies to improve our city.

In spite of this, the State Government is moving ahead with it's plan to force me to resign one of these positions. This dramatic rewriting of democracy in NSW was not mentioned before the last election and will do nothing to tackle the more serious issues of the conflicts of interest faced by the 60 Parliamentarians who currently have private interests. My sole business is representing our community.

A move like this should be put to referendum and not left to venal party politics.

The day the legislation was put through I was heartened by a meeting with Millers Point resident Amanda Jane who presented me with her painting of a homeless person sleeping rough in a park.

Monday morning saw the start of demolition work at the former South Sydney Hospital site in Green Square. This is the first stage in the $8 billion redevelopment of Green Square, which will create 20,000 new homes and 22,000 jobs for our city.

Our ninth In Your Village meeting took place this Tuesday evening at Paddington Town Hall. The meeting was very well attended. Residents and business owners from Darlinghurst to Paddington in the Oxford Street village shared some great ideas for the future of their community. The final In Your Village meeting is happening next Tuesday evening at Redfern Town Hall and I look forward to seeing some of you there.

It was terrific to be part of the MCA's reopening on Wednesday. The City was one of the first organisations to contribute funding to the redevelopment and it is great to see the project completed.

On Thursday evening I helped launch the 2012 Sydney Writers Festival Program. I'm looking forward to a fantastic week in May - one that both reflects and stimulates our city's cultural life.

The Writers' Festival has become a fixture on calendars both locally and internationally and the City is proud to be one of its founding supporters.

On Saturday afternoon (2.30pm) I'll be launching the newly restored What Bird Is That? mural at Edgely Street Reserve in Surry Hills. The mural's original artist, Peter Day, completed conservation and collaborated with the City's Urban Ecology Manager to include more native bird species.

This City's is working on reintroducing these species through local native habitat restoration. A renewal of Edgely Street Reserve in the next twelve months will include replacing exotic plants with native plants to correspond with the mural.

Saturday night is Earth Hour. At 8.30pm please make sure you're joining hundreds of millions of other people around the globe by switching off your lights for one hour. We need to show all levels of government that the community is serious about addressing climate change and reducing impacts on the environment so that governments make it a priority.

It's been terrific to hear about a community event being organised for Sunday - Rolling with Clover - being held to show support for a progressive and sustainable Sydney and for our bike network. Thank you to everyone involved in setting up Rolling with Clover, I'll see you at Town Hall on Sunday. If you are after information about the event please visit!/RollingWithClover

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