Last night I attended the Leaders forum at the Francis Greenway centre. I have to admit when posting my reminder yesterday I wasn’t sure if there would be many in attendance as I’d only heard about it via an email… and there I was all by myself until Adrian from Chris Hayes office came to sit in as well.
I’d like to share with you some of the conversations, they are not word for word and will be to the best of my knowledge accurate, I took some notes.
To satisfy at least one of my readers: In attendance: MP’s Chris Hayes, Craig Kelly, Andrew McDonald and Melanie Gibbons, Cllrs in attendance were: Ned Mannoun, Peter Harle, Mazhar Hadid, Peter Ritevski, Anne Stanley, Sabrina Mammone, Tony Hadchiti and Gus Balloot. Staff also attending were Milan Marecic, Julie Hately, Farooq Portelli, Paul Scully, Jane, Billy, Alison & the IT fellows who’s name totally escapes me at present sorry.
Apologies from: Cllr Wendy Waller, Geoff Shelton MP’s Paul Lynch, Russell Matheson, Tanya Davies and another I don’t’ recall.
In order of the agenda: (remember I’ve paraphrased)
Ned Mannoun welcomed everyone and had them introduce themselves.
1) Container deposit Levy: lots of discussion regarding this very important topic. Comments and pictures from Peter Harle who is passionate about this and general agreement that everyone would like to pursue this further.
2) Transport/Intermodal… interesting debate on this Chris Hayes is in favour for the potential jobs it will bring to Liverpool, his comment about council adopting a no only strategy is in accord with what the Liverpool Greens have been saying all along, seek a better outcome, higher standards, greater environmental protections etc while saying NO, don’t just put up barriers without attempting to get the absolute best outcome possible should it go ahead anyway. Craig Kelly and others discussed their opposition and views and Melanie Gibbons offered to supply her submission to council as a way forward. Lots of discussion about the different aspects of the projects, roads, air quality etc etc. Ned Mannoun also mentioned the new committee to address the intermodal. Andrew McDonalds comment was his first objective was to do no harm and conversation was plentiful about this topic.
3) CCTV: $400,000 has been set aside for a trial by LCC. Ned Mannoun indicated it would be installed. Farooq Portelli asked that all levels of government look at ways to financially assist, things like better lighting etc accepting that CCTV doesn’t guarantee safety. Mazhar Hadid wants it safer so investors will come; Melanie Gibbons said it wasn’t a state issue whilst Ned Mannoun suggested that the Victorian govt increased its financial support since the Jill Maher tragedy. Chris Hayes suggested council have more discussions with Fairfield Council and police as the Police Super there suggests it almost useless as a deterrent if it’s not monitored 24/7. Lots of conversation ensued…
4) Employment: Ned Mannoun outlined the number of jobs coming to Liverpool with new companies such as Costco, the DFO etc and discussed which were being supported and which weren’t. (I have to ask at this point is it councils decision who opens and who doesn’t should that risk be taken by the shop owners i.e. Woolworths not the council??) Chris Hayes asked what council was doing to attract, sustain business and jobs to Liverpool. He suggested that another Business Expo as was held some years ago might be a way forward. Farooq Portelli discussed the interviews and potential 3 business development managers being interviewed and his aspirations for their future successes. Chris Hayes questioned where LCC was in relation to working with the Chinese community being the 4th largest Chinese community and suggested Cnl reads the Asian White paper. Andrew McDonald also indicated that many state jobs were already in Liverpool and space would be an important factor. Peter Harle discussed the 12000 qualified workers looking for work and the 60,000 unqualified workers and how the TAFE cuts could/would impact on this. Lots of discussion about the need for training etc with Peter asking why we were importing workers instead of skilling our own. Peter Harle discussed that 70% need vocational training and the impacts of excessive fees. The Minimum being $1200 pa fees…Sabrina Mammone concurred. The question was also asked if e-commerce is the largest growth industry why wouldn’t we be looking at allowing/encouraging more warehousing etc. Discussion on the education cuts with Melanie Gibbons saying only arts and ceramics courses were cut because they were social not job producing. With requirement to cut $5.2B everything had to contribute to savings, schools, firies, etc and that they (the Govt) had to live within their means. Tony Hadchiti commented that TAFEs would become redundant and short courses will replace them. Peter Harle discussed the merit of long term training for better outcomes. Chris Hayes said that every job created actually attracts another 2.3jobs in support i.e. child care etc. I was saddened to hear the comment “the Unemployed need to get off their backsides and stop being a drain on the community’ and would certainly attribute it if I was sure which councillor said it. Sweeping statements like that put a poor light on all unemployed regardless of circumstances.
5) Regional development: Chris Hayes talked about grants available and suggested Robotics surgery wasn’t already here in Liverpool Hospital and that it might garner some work and grant initiatives.
6) Neighbourhood Centres. Conversation regarding the Gov Generals visit to Warwick Farm, the initiatives that have been set up and the hope that council et al can continue to support the courses the centre ran.
7) Men’s Sheds – Chris spoke of his support for them as did Melanie Gibbons. Some of our councillors seemed unsure or unaware of the men’s sheds, we have two groups in Liverpool trying ever so hard to get established and their biggest downfall is the ability to find appropriate location. These are really so important and have some really important benefits to men of all ages… Chris mentioned the Federal Govt has grant initiatives for some and this could be explored by council.
8) Domestic Violence: Chris Hayes commented that all forms of criminal activity were down with the exception of domestic violence and asked that council support the white ribbon day initiative. Anne Stanley asked if there was some way the council could direct fundraising efforts to this and publicise it via the council news etc. General Support from all.
9) Council Electricity: Craig Kelly asked how council was approaching the increased costs and Farooq Portelli outlined councils increases over the last few years, mentioning he’d be putting something to the councillors regarding the increased impost. Peter talked about the types of lighting and Tony Hadchiti asked if the council could offset costs in new release areas or turn off street lighting that wasn’t ‘used’ enough or move the cost to developers.
10) Security at Holsworthy…. Craig Kelly spoke of his concern at the delay in implementing upgrades, Chris Hayes indicated these were slated for 2013 yet Craig Kelly continued to talk about a 12month delay….not clear on an outcome for this and whether 2013 early or late in the year.
11) General Business… Tony Hadchiti thanked everyone for coming and Ned Mannoun suggested there would be another in 6 months. My hope is the next is better advertised.
Clearly this is just an outline of the conversations, this was not a council meeting format, much more relaxed and interactive. The Meeting closed at 9.30 with supper provided…
Comments and adjustments are welcomed, these notes are indicative as I mentioned I didn’t record and a lot was said, this is merely a rundown of the topics and a very brief note on what was discussed. Every attempt was made to give credit (for statements) where due. What is in italics I will attempt to find out more.