• NSW Crown Land corruption to be referred to ICAC
    *Most of our open spaces, our public parks, sporting ovals, our beaches (like Bondi), our headlands, our waterways and our bush, are Crown land. In truth, it is simply “public land”. The right of the general public to use and enjoy our public land is an essential part of our egalitarian society and the Courts have always upheld - under the general law - the public’s rights of access. But that is all about to change. Telling us that new legislation was needed to overcome various management issues resulting from out-of-date legislation, the NSW Coalition has just passed new legislation that will in fact facilitate the greatest privatisation of our public land in NSW history. Please read on if you are interested. The Crown Land Management Bill - rushed through Parliament by the NSW Government on 9 November - was the Government’s response to years of allegations of systemic mismanagement and cronyism in its Crown Land Department (“Crown Lands”) and by local councils. Those allegations (by various community groups) were effectively accepted as accurate and substantiated, first, by Mark Paterson as head of Crown Lands on 22 June 2015 and, second, by the NSW Auditor General on presenting her scathing report to Parliament on 8 September 2016. In his admission last year, Mr Paterson admitted the “systemic issues” identified by his lawyers were so bad as to require staff training “in fraud and corruption prevention”. Paterson's media release is here: https://www.opengov.nsw.gov.au/viewer/81b25fee74db45ee92b75d130638203b.pdf The Auditor General found - as alleged by the community - that countless crown reserves were being used for unlawful purposes, including by businesses well connected to the relevant decision makers. Some 90% of these dodgy deals were done behind closed doors, for peppercorn rents. The Auditor General recommended Crown Lands identify all cases of unlawful uses of Crown reserves by March 2017. The Auditor General's report is here: http://www.audit.nsw.gov.au/publications/latest-reports/sale-and-lease-of-crown-land. Then on 13 October 2016, an Upper House Inquiry - brought on by sustained pressure from Crown land community groups - delivered yet another report on Crown land mismanagement. This Upper House report made a series of recommendations as to what any new legislation should include. The Upper House report is here: https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/committees/inquiries/Pages/inquiry-details.aspx?pk=2404#tab-reports But it was too late: Minister Niall Blair had already completed his new 208 page Bill. It was introduced into the Upper House on 19 October without even so much as an Exposure Draft. It was debated for the first time - and passed by both Houses - on 9 November. Crown Lands drafted this Bill. It will now become law. The new Act allows: the Minister to declare lawful all these previous unlawful activities (Clause 5.26); private businesses to control Crown reserves and to charge entry fees to public land (clause 2.17); and private business to agree on uses that go outside the uses permitted by statute (clause 5.2). And the Bill automatically provides the Minister’s approval to these businesses lodging a new DA to use - or build on - our public land not only for any statutory use but any other use that is allowed by the terms of their own private agreement (clause 2.23(2)(c)(ii) and 2.23(2)(g)(i)). To have allowed Crown Lands to draft this Bill to allow them to cover up their past mistakes, make lawful what was previously unlawful and to not require the Government’s mates to disgorge their ill-gotten gains, is like allowing the greyhound industry to draft a bill to cover up its own past mistakes. It is basic governance that you never give the job of fixing up a problem to those who were in any way involved in the making of the problem. It is unconscionable and a high form of corruption. It is time for the Government of NSW to start governing for the people, not for its mates. Please check the Updates below for links to more information on the internet. And email me if you have any specific queries or know of any further abuses of Crown land. JBOwens, Crown Land Alliance
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  • DEFERMENT of CROWN LAND MANAGEMENT BILL 2016
    It involves 42% of the TOTAL land mass of NSW. What was previously Crown Land or fell under other Acts such as Common Land, now due to be designated as Crown Land, will at the discretion of The MINISTER, be able to be privatised, leased, sold..... to whoever for whatever purpose. Previous Crown Land Management Bills have 'reserved' much Crown Land in a way that this is not possible. Public lands were for public use & were intended to be held in perpetuity. All previous protections will be removed with the passing of this new bill, this COMING TUESDAY 8TH NOVEMBER 2016. It also includes the abolition of Commons, reserve & other Trusts and the Western Lands Advisory Council. This may effect many public spaces such as parks, showgrounds, pony clubs and commons, such as The St Albans Common (pictured). This Common was granted to the early settlers and residents of The Macdonald Valley, just Nth West of Sydney, by Queen Victoria and has been successfully managed since 1824 by valley residents in accordance with the original deed of grant and at no cost to the government. Think of it this way.... if they were talking about private land.... ask yourself this, "would you be comfortable with having your house land title changed to a license with a mere promise not to revoke it !!!" Any protection of OUR PUBLIC LAND on this new bill, amounts to no more than this..... Full bill here... https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/bills/DBAssets/bills/BillText/3348/b2012-167-d13.pdf
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  • DUMP PLANS FOR SA's NUCLEAR HIGH LEVEL DUMP
    Fukushima and Chernobyl taught the world that nuclear accidents are very expensive and toxic for generations and leave horrific tragedy in their wake. South Australian Jay Wetherill is currently pushing his Government's plans by using a publicly funded Education Campaign. He and his government are spending public funds to spin the ' it is all proven, scientific and safe' line in his current expensive roadshow. His goal is to place a global HIGH LEVEL NUCLEAR RUBBISH DUMP for short term profit in South Australia. He would like to place his own and South Australias' children's children's future at stake and just for money. Speculation and debate about long term finanncial cost / benefits of such an operation for a high level radioactive waste site is that it may prove to be a financial disaster. This is even if their is no nuclear leak, accident or clean up in tens, hundreds, or thousands of years time from today. If Mr Wetherill and the ALP of South Australia succeeded and any of the transported and stored waste containers EVER leak in an unforseen event or are accessed by wrong hands or motives it will prove potentially environmentally catastrophic. YES : SA needs smart new growth industries, not old outmoded nuclear plants spent nuclear waste in our back yard. NUCLEAR IS FOREVER Mr Wetherill- Just not here with toxic waste products please. Let the countries and wealthy energy company's that made the problem find other ways and places to deal with it. We understand their are companies involved in making large money from the real and pressing need to get rid of nuclear waste, it also asists with selling more nuclear power stations in future but we dont want that problem in our home state. As with Pangea back in the 90's the federal government met strong opposition and it stopped the project.. This is not a minor project of political short term consequence, this is a forever problem if your government succeeds in its wishes. DUMP THE DUMP
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  • Act now! Chainsaws start felling 229 trees on old high school site on Monday Oct 24, 6.45am
    A lot of Cockatoos and other birds use the trees. Many of the trees are along the boundary fences. Some believe that their removal is simply for the ease of construction work. We are being force to accept the loss of green open space but do we have to lose the trees too? Another case of The State Premier, Daniel Andrews dismissing his voters out of hand. Minister Merlino, we hope you will listen to the electorate and warn him of his folly.
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  • We call on ABC and SBS to break the silence on the climate emergency
    Politicians tell us they can't take climate emergency action to protect us all from climate impacts until the public demands it. Yet large sections of the public are lulled into thinking it can't be all that bad since neither politicians nor the media are reporting on climate impacts or discussing solutions. Our public broadcasters, ABC and SBS, might be the only body that is sufficiently trusted and powerful to break this impasse by reporting honestly and regularly about climate impacts and climate solutions. The public need to know about current and future impacts in order to be motivated to act, and need to know we have the solutions at our fingertips in order to take action themselves and demand government action instead of 'switching off'. Join us in calling for honest and thorough climate emergency reporting from the ABC and SBS. And when you have signed this petition, please also consider signing the Climate Emergency Declaration and Mobilisation petition at www.ClimateEmergencyDeclaration.org/sign » Read more on www.climatesafety.info/publicbroadcasters (main page) www.climatesafety.info/climateactionstalemate (article) and www.climatesafety.info/radiorelay (radio interviews)
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  • Save our Nambucca Heads Public Recreation Spaces from Residential Development
    We object to this rezoning proposal for the following reasons: This precious tiny green space (0.87ha), that includes a natural water course supporting thousands of frogs, birds, echidnas and other native wildlife, currently zoned Public Recreation, and proposed for rezoning to Medium Density Housing is adjacent to 390,000 sq m of undeveloped land already zoned Residential. Surely, this space should be retained as Public Recreation or Environmental (E3). Note - It would probably be a superb site for a community garden! Koala's and Green & Golden Bell Frogs have been heard in the adjacent forested area, and kids for more than 3 generations have played in this space. As per Item 4. of the "Gateway Determination- Nambucca Amendment 21" Item 4 - we request/insist on a public hearing to address all our concerns and that of neighbours that are also affected by this rezoning. Please - Lets do this for our children, and their children! Who knows how much of our Public Recreation spaces will be lost to Residential development?
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  • Heritage Housing Pain in Australia
    Australia's heritage system is set up so that certain individual property owners are forced to bear the costs of heritage conservation for the rest of the general public. It is not fair, or ethical and some people are cracking under pressure of this large financial burden. The individual heritage property owner is often put at a large financial disadvantage through serious devaluation of property price (by over 25% on average calculated by Herron Todd White – Australia’s largest independent property valuation and advisory group in Australia) (Australian Government Productivity Commission, 2006, Conservation of Australia's Historic Heritage Places - Productivity Commission Inquiry Report No.37, Canberra, Media and Publications Productivity Commission, p.164, Box 7.3), higher maintenance or restoration costs due to the requirement for specialised tradespeople, additional administrative costs, limitations on the ability to modify or adapt the property and limitations on the ability to develop the site. What usually then occurs is that heritage listed properties are often neglected and run into disrepair. So, not only does Australia’s heritage system cause financial devastation to hundreds of families, but it doesn’t even work to conserve our heritage! This needs to change. There are more progressive heritage systems employed by other countries (in particular Colorado, USA) which work, and Australia needs to follow their lead. Their private heritage property owners have adequate financial support and great tax incentives, so people try to nominate their own property to be on their national heritage register! People look after their heritage property because it is in their best interests to. This is unlike the situation in Australia where heritage funding is minimal and therefore the reliance is on owners of heritage properties to pay for all/most of the bill and suffer the devaluation in their property value. Resentment against heritage listing is increasing in Australia, and without financial help people will naturally neglect their heritage listed property because it just costs too much. It's time to take a stand, so please support our campaign by adding your name below and click on on 'Good vs Bad Heritage Systems' at http://heritagepainoz.my-free.website to learn more.
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  • Pledge ratify Paris Climate Change target
    Although we're now 20 years late, excesses of climate change can still be tamed, even if our world is changed, for the worse, forever. How about you enact Drastic Action immediately, before it gets impossibly expensive? Take this pledge so they know you feel Lucky Country is at risk, fast running out of luck. Are big budget jet fighters and submarines any defence against real and present threat of climate change? Please take this pledge.
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  • Support Youth facility at Rushcutters Bay
    This is a carefully thought out and well researched proposal, the result of 4 years of consultations and campaigning by the local youth community and their parents. The facility is aimed at 5-14 year olds and would be located in an under-utilised section of “no man’s land” within the park hemmed in by the canal, a line of trees and the outdoor gym. The park is very large — over 5.3ha — and the proposed concept would impact less than 2 per cent of this space. The proposal includes a basketball court, ping pong tables and new seating which would be used by younger children as well. The new facility will complement existing recreational activities. Currently there is no local place in Paddington or Woollahra where the children of this age group are encouraged to play outdoors, ie; to skateboard, cycle, chat in groups, climb trees, build cubbies or play handball or basketball. The population of children in the inner city has dramatically increased in the last 10 years and yet the presence of children in their local urban context is largely ignored by the planners and the adult community. In Paddington, all of the children live either in terrace houses with tiny courtyards or in units with no outdoor space, they are not allowed (by the schools) to play in the school grounds after hours, they are not supposed to play in the streets because it is considered dangerous. There are no parks in the area that cater for this age group. So the skaterkids are a marginalised and disengaged group within our community that do already play in the street because there is nowhere else to go. This youth facility will provide these much needed facilities for the Woollahra Paddington Community, in particular for an under represented and rapidly expanding population of 8-14 year olds.
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  • Love Glebe? Worried about Westconnex building a freeway on Ross St
    We are parents, families, kids and community members who love Glebe. We are very concerned that WestConnex Stage 3 will negatively impact on the local schools in Forest Lodge and Glebe by building an off ramp and exit along Ross St. WestConnex will bring over 36000 more cars to Ross St, dumping them in the Glebe area. We want to protect Glebe from a freeway that would cut the suburb in half and drench the community with fumes and pollution.
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    Created by Maz Tattersall Picture
  • Love Glebe? Worried about Westconnex building a freeway on Ross St
    We are parents, families, kids and community members. Our kids go to the local schools in Forest Lodge and Glebe and we are very concerned that WestConnex Stage 3 plans to build an off ramp and exit somewhere near Ross St in Glebe. WestConnex will bring over 33000 more cars to Ross St, dumping them in the Glebe area. We love Glebe. We want to protect it from a freeway that would cut the suburb in half and drench the community with fumes and pollution.
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  • Upgrade Dickson shopping centre in accordance with the Dickson Master Plan 2011 and 2016-17
    Dickson group centre is the main northern gateway to the national capital and serves an unusually large population catchment, providing important health, library, postal, banking, public transport, retail, recreation, restaurants and a wide range of other commercial services to the whole of North Canberra and many parts of the ACT/NSW sub-region. The centre is in urgent need of maintenance, shoppers are regularly experiencing harassment, and local businesses will face extremely difficult trading conditions once the centre's major carpark is fenced off. Now is the time to ensure that appropriate steps are taken to deliver the quality and integration of facilities that the Dickson Master Plan promised.
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    Created by Jane Goffman