Animal Welfare Still Not a Priority

Australia continues to allow archaic and cruel animal treatment.Rodeos subject animals to pain, fear, severe injuries and sometimes death. Reports of brutality and torment at recent NSW rodeos, including dragging calves from their legs and roping them, led the Primary Industries Minister to declare that rodeos "are here to stay".The Government's review of the existing Rodeo Code excludes consultation with groups concerned about rodeos like Animals Australia, Animal Liberation, No Rodeo, PALS@PILCH and the Law Society of NSW Animal Law Committee. In response to my questions in Parliament the Minister said there will be consultation with what he refers to as "key stakeholders".The existing Rodeo Code was approved over 20 years ago despite requirements for a review every two years. The ACT has banned rodeos, and Victoria and South Australia have banned calf roping.Circuses deny exotic animals their basic instinctual needs and they suffer psychologically and physically from confinement, lack of natural socialisation, frequent travelling and coercion into performing unnatural and sometimes dangerous tricks. Circus life leads to abnormal behaviours like pacing and swaying in animals like elephants, lions, tigers and monkeys.In the Legislative Assembly, I am sponsoring a petition by Animals Asia, the RSPCA and Animals Australia calling on the NSW Government to follow the lead of the ACT and ban exotic animals performing in circuses.Last week Animals Australia exposed a proposal to deny dairy calves food within the last 30 hours of their life. Calves normally suckle five times a day and are currently not allowed to be left without food for more than 10 hours.Calves feel pain, fear, distress and hunger and I have asked the Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry to ensure that dairy calves are treated humanely.As a just and civilised society, we should work to reduce animals' pain and suffering. Australia should follow world best practice, and play a leadership role to improve animal welfare.Information My questions: Circus petition: Say No To Animals in Circuses: Related information: | Animal Welfare | Informing and Involving | eNews |

Support My Campaign for Sydney

With the 2011 State Election less than two months away on Saturday 26 March, I welcome the support I am receiving from the community.I encourage you to join us for a fundraising cocktail party and auction at the Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation in Paddington next Saturday, 19 February. I thank volunteers who have given their time and energy to organise the party, which will be an opportunity to dress up and mingle with other supporters, and help retain independent representation for Sydney. You can download an rsvp form on my website.We have leased a campaign office in Surry Hills for volunteers to coordinate doorknocking, street stalls, fundraising, leaflet distribution and other campaign activities. If you can help out with donations or loans of office equipment or furniture, please contact Leone by email at 2011 Campaign Fundraiser: Saturday 19 February from 6.30pm, The Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, 16-20 Goodhope Street, Paddington 2021 RSVP: Related information: | Informing and Involving | Moore for Sydney | Working for Sydney | eNews

Traffic Committee to Formally Recognise Pedestrians and Cyclists

Pedestrians, cyclists and calm local streets will be formally recognised in the City's traffic management and planning if Council supports the unanimous recommendation of the Monday's meeting of the Planning, Development and Transport committee to rename Sydney Traffic CommitteeThe committee will be renamed the Local Pedestrian, Cycling and Traffic Calming Committee to reflect the Committee's aims, objectives and the matters it considers.The Committee is an open monthly meeting chaired by the City and attended by the Roads and Traffic Authority, State Transit Authority, Police, Transport Workers Union, Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority and a Cycling representative. As Member for Sydney, I am represented by a local resident on the committee, as is the Member for Heffron and the Member for Marrickville.The Committee manages activities which occur on streets and footpaths across the City, which may include applications for street events, changes in parking, introduction of car share spaces, pedestrian amenity, traffic calming measures and cycleway projects.Information The Committee meets on the third Wednesday of the month Planning, Development and Transport Committee Report Related information: | Transport | eNews

Join Me for Mardi Gras

It's Mardi Gras season again, and I invite you to join me in showing support for equal rights and acceptance of all people, regardless of gender and sexuality. The 2011 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade is on Saturday 5 March.This year's parade theme is "Don't Just stand there. Say Something..." My parade entry will "say something" about the need for relationship equality for same-sex couples.I support full relationship equality, including providing for same sex relationships to be recognised in the same way as marriage or civil unions.While my bill to provide for children with same-sex parents to be legally adopted succeeded in late 2010, discrimination loopholes remain and wider community education to prevent homophobia is needed.Please join me in the parade and support equality. Bring your family with you to show that we all have families who should be legally recognised. People able to help organise my walking group are especially welcome.InformationContact Leanne Abbott, phone 9360 3053 or email

Australia Post Agrees to Limited Postal Service

Australia Post has responded to community action by agreeing to continue limited postal services in the Glebe and Woollahra village centres.Late last year Australia Post announced that post offices in Queen Street Woollahra and Glebe Point Road Glebe would close, with no consultation and little notice.I strongly oppose Australia Post's decision to close these Post Offices, and share community concern at the loss of these important local facilities and meeting places. Removal of these services will result in significant loss for local residents, especially those who are elderly or have limited mobility and those without transport.While providing limited services is preferable to withdrawing of all services, residents will not have the complete range of services that have been provided in the past such as local banking, bill payments and parcel services.Australia Post continues to cite falling customer numbers and sustained losses for their decision, putting profitability before community needs and customer service.Unfortunately, the Federal Government's corporatisation of Australia Post and abandonment of historic purpose built post office buildings for shopping centre shop fronts have been going on for years without any action by successive Ministers to rein it in.I will continue to try to get the Federal Government to reverse Australia Post's decision and ensure that full postal services are available in Glebe and Woollahra. Concerned residents should continue to contact the Federal Minister and the CEO of Australia Post seeking that full postal services are provided.Information Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy: Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600 or David Mortimer, Chair, Australia Post, GPO Box 9911, Melbourne Victoria 3001 Ahmed Fahour, CEO, Australia Post, GPO Box 9911, Melbourne Victoria 3001 Comment direct to Australia Post:

Planning Minister Silent on Late Night Violence

One day after Council adopted refinements to our Late Night Trading Premises Development Control Plan (DCP) 2007, the Planning Minister directed us to revoke them, without explanation.The amendments to the current DCP were adopted following extensive community and industry consultation and support from residents, the Police Association, Australian Medical Association and the Nurses Association whose members see the devastating effects of alcohol fuelled violence first hand every weekend.Contrary to an ugly and misleading campaign financed by a few anonymous people with industry interests, the DCP amendments had nothing to do with a blanket shut down of Sydney's nightlife.Our nightlife economy is strong and I want it to stay that way. Under the DCP, many venues can operate until late. Good operators need not fear their hours will be restricted.This is about creating a vibrant city night life. I believe that the City should have many options for people visiting at night and that is what the small bars campaign was about.What our amendments do is simply ensure that unsafe and poorly managed venues are not rewarded with later trading particularly those where violent, anti-social behaviour results in attacks on patrons, fights spilling out onto the streets, serious disturbances to neighbourhoods and police and paramedics continually being called to respond.The amendments are minor. They include grammatical corrections, removing references to legislation and planning instruments that no longer exist, updating maps and making adjustments to recognise new powers given to the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority.Given they were so minor, the City has sought clarification about the Minister's concerns and his reason for ordering it be entirely revoked. It's been two months and we still have heard nothing. I am concerned he is simply bowing to pressure by vested industry interests.On Monday, Council's Planning, Development and Transport Committee will consider publicly exhibiting the changes ordered by the Minister, as required by State legislation.Members of the public are welcome to address Councillors at that Committee meeting.Information The Planning Policy Sub-Committee meets from 4.30pm, Monday 7 February. The report is available at For more information contact Ben Chamie, City Plan Development Unit on 9265 9333 or at To address the Committee, register to speak by calling Council's Secretariat on 9265 9310 before 12 noon.

Make Sure You Can Vote in March

Don't forget to update your electoral enrolment if you become eligible to vote or have moved, so that you are correctly enrolled to vote on Saturday 26 March at the State election.You can check your enrolment details online at the Australian Electoral Commission and update details there. You can also get enrolment forms from Post Offices, Medicare, Centrelink or Australian Taxation Office offices, or call my Electorate Office for a copy.If you will be away or unable to vote on election day itself, you can request a postal vote or vote early via pre-poll from 14 March onwards. Contact the Electoral Commission NSW for details, or call my Electorate Office for a postal vote application form.Information Check enrolment at or phone 132 326 Enrolment update forms Early voting: or phone 1300 135 736

Support Keeping Sydney Independent

Unlike the major parties, I don't accept donations from developers or large corporate donations. I rely on hundreds of volunteers and community donations to support my election campaigns.With the NSW election just two months away, several of my supporters have organised a fundraiser at the Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation in Paddington on Saturday 19 February.I invite you to join us for a non-party party. It's an opportunity to dress up, mingle with other friends and supporters, and have a fun time helping retain independent representation in Sydney.Information Clover 2011 Campaign Fundraiser: Saturday 19 February from 6.30pm, The Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, 16-20 Goodhope Street, Paddington 2021 or call Leone on 9517 4704.

City Staff Welcomed in Brisbane

City Staff who travelled to Brisbane to help with the massive flood cleanup received a warm welcome from residents, businesses and Brisbane City Council. All volunteers, the staff come from Council's Cleansing and Waste, Civil Maintenance, Parks Services, Fleet and Health Services.The first team comprising 31 staff and over 20 vehicles, including garbage trucks, excavators, backhoes, tipper trucks and utes, departed Sydney on Monday 24 January. Travelling to Brisbane was arduous, with several vehicles only able to travel at low speeds.The team began work at 7:30am on Australia Day in the Brisbane suburb of St Lucia, on the banks of the Brisbane River next to Queensland University. During that day, the team removed approximately 67.5 tonnes of waste, the majority of it comprising internal lining and kitchens from flood effected homes. In some cases the entire contents of homes were removed.A second crew of 26 staff volunteers took over on Monday. They completed a check of six suburbs and two industrial estates, and took 55 tonnes of waste to the tip. Some 176 tonnes of waste were shifted in the first three days.The crews will continue to work over the weekend and return to Sydney next Monday.Two teams of nine Health Inspectors and one engineer are also helping Brisbane City Council with more than 300 health-related inspections. The inspections include reopening flood damaged food premises, assessing environmental safety issues such as parks contaminated by raw sewage early morning inspections of the flood affected Brisbane Markets.On Monday, Council unanimously commended and thanked the volunteers who have travelled to Brisbane and endorsed my recommendation to donate $200,000 to the Queensland Premier's Disaster Relief Appeal.All staff will receive their full salary for the time they are away, and the City will also meet reasonable out of pocket expenses.Information Queensland Premier's Flood Relief Appeal: To make a donation phone 1800 219 028 My Lord Mayoral Minute on the Queensland floods: Youtube video about City staff helping out in Brisbane:

Harold Park on the Agenda

Following extensive public consultation, Council will consider adopting proposed new planning controls for the Harold Park site that will ensure that the 35 per cent of previously private open space on the site will become 35 per cent of public open space.The controls also provide land for affordable housing, community space in the Tram Sheds, and an $8.25 million developer contribution toward creating the park and essential infrastructure.The report to Council's Planning, Development and Transport Committee on Monday carefully reviews submissions from the recent public exhibition. It recommends that Council endorse the proposal, with key elements unchanged from the exhibited plan.The report recommends Council adopt building heights in the exhibited plan because the development in the valley would be limited to the height of the predominant terrace housing in the area. It would improve or maintain public views throughout the area, with taller buildings towards the centre of the site to reduce overlooking and overshadowing.It also recommends that Council decrease the amount of retail space within the development by about 50 percent to reduce impacts on established local shopping precincts. Issues of site access have been addressed, with the Roads and Traffic Authority agreeing to primary access from The Crescent, rather than smaller local roads.Following suggestions from the Heritage Branch of the Department of Planning, Council will also strengthen some of the heritage controls to ensure the protection, conservation and adaptive reuse of the site's significant heritage items.InformationOfficer's report:

Same Sex Marriage

Latest polls say that 62 per cent of Australians support same-sex marriage. I support the community campaign for full equality, including in marriage.Following a meeting with Australian Marriage Equality representatives, I have committed to investigating NSW legislation to provide for same-sex marriage. This will require expert legal advice on constitutional provisions and the legal basis for State legislation.The Prime Minister did not agree to my request for a conscience vote on same-sex marriage, and says that the Government will vote as a bloc on this matter. The Federal Opposition Leader claimed to support the removal of discrimination, but continues with discriminatory marriage provisions. Federal Parliament agreed on a motion calling on MPs to gauge their constituents' views on allowing same-sex couples to marry.In NSW Parliament, I asked the NSW Attorney General about legal advice on options to recognise overseas same-sex marriages in NSW, and possible NSW legislation to provide for same sex marriage, given the lack of progress at Federal level.According to the Attorney General, Tasmanian legislation only recognises overseas same sex marriages as a "registered relationship". He says that marriage in Australia can only be recognised under the Commonwealth Marriage Act. Both the previous federal Government and then Opposition supported amendments to define marriage as only being between a man and a woman.I understand that bills to provide state marriage equality are listed for both Tasmania and South Australia, and I will monitor these developments.Same-sex marriage is allowed in Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and some states in the United States of America.I encourage you to contact your federal MP to express your views.Information My Questions Australian Marriage Equality:

New Plans for Social and Affordable Housing in Redfern-Waterloo

The Redfern-Waterloo Authority (RWA) is seeking public comment on its new Draft Built Environment Plan - Stage 2 (Draft BEP2). The draft BEP2 is on exhibition from 27 January to 28 February 2011.Developed by the RWA with Housing NSW, the draft outlines plans to transform Housing NSW sites in the RWA area (including Redfern, Waterloo and South Eveleigh) over the next 20-25 years.The proposal outlines planning controls that enable the redevelopment of Redfern, Waterloo and South Eveleigh to provide housing for around 7,000 households in a mix of social, affordable and private dwellings. This doubles the number of dwellings in the current public housing estates.It proposes the replacement of 700 existing public housing dwellings with 700 affordable housing units. The RWA has told the City that any reductions in public housing in the immediate area will be offset by the acquisition of replacement social housing within the local government area.A summary of the plan will be provided to every household and business in the RWA area through a special edition of the RWA's quarterly newsletter. Housing NSW residents are also being provided with a Resident Information booklet prepared by Housing NSW.RWA and Housing NSW staff will host a series of information sessions throughout February to discuss the proposals with interested residents.InformationDraft Built Environment Plan Stage 2: details on information sessions and how to make a submission can be found

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