Justice in QLD – will it head south?

October 9, 2017

As many of you will know I was not a supporter of the former CEO Carl Wulff. I have however maintained contact over quite some time with people who were directly impacted by his less than upfront methods in Queensland. I have heard their sadness and the impact of the decisions he made affect them, their families, their health and their future and  I can now say how pleased I am to hear that the Qld CCC has taken serious action to ensure the people of Queensland are rid of dishonest people who infested places of trust like local councils. I have read pages and pages of information that now appears to have been proven as correct and am delighted that in some small way those most affected have been vindicated even though they will probably never be compensated the real cost of their losses.

 

There is a plethora of information available online and it will be interesting over time to see if anything untoward was attempted whilst on our payroll is uncovered. It won’t however be truly known the depths of the evidence the CCC have against him or his partner until the court appearances on October 24th. One has to wonder if there is anyone closer to home who would be worrying about his loyalty or his willingness to roll over to protect himself… alas we may never know but I am so pleased to hear justice is being served in Qld and while there are some here who are relishing the news out of Queensland, please remember, they were the ones who employed Mr Wulff here even when their own due diligence was being questioned. Some of you may recall my posts in relation to the contact not only from Ipswich but those in Dandenong who contacted me who were highlighting their concerns.

If you are interested I’m pretty sure a google search of Carl Wulff will make available a number of articles that all appear to be quite confident of his guilt, what actions have been taken and those who have also been swept up in the deceit of the ratepayers of Ipswich council.

As always if you have differing information please don’t hesitate to share. Cllr Balloot advised me at the last council meeting that there were inaccuracies in some of my posts and I have invited him to share his version/view for publication here. Then of course it will be up to you to decide which is correct…that said I’m always more than happy to share differing views, however to date they have not been forthcoming. One point he clarified that I and I’m afraid many others were of the impression, that he is not in anyway related to the former mayor. Knowing that I had been given that information from several people, my apologies for the error, I too would have wanted that cleared up quite quickly.

 

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my two most recent submissions to council

July 28, 2017

I have been busy writing submissions and numerous other things, however one I didn’t post in the hope it wouldn’t fore warn some councillors that the Nursery Mattered… alas they voted down to actually supply the nursery and eco centre we  were promised when first asked to accept an environment levy. Alas I shouldn’t be surprised and am always hopeful that we can as a Council stick to our word to our community.  This has now happened on two major occasions, first when we were surveyed about the Special Rate Variation and now on the outcome from the Environment Levy you and I all pay to have our precious environment cared for. in the cast of the nursery, what was worst for me is  that a non resident councillor spoke so vehemently against it based on one attendance at a meeting that a number of us had been attending and supporting for 8-10 years.

So here are my last two submissions, sadly mine was the only one received by council for the Operations and delivery program draft and as today is the last day for the community halls one I can only hope I am not the only person attempting to save our community halls from sale or as they’re calling it rationalisation.

The Facilities submission is due today, I emailed mine last night and am hopeful we can achieve a good outcome on saving our halls. If you’ve not had a chance to look at it, log onto Liverpool LIstens, I know they will accept a late submission if you take the time to get one in. With the changes to Section 94 (developer) contributions, money from there can NO LONGER be used to build community centres and the like, so future buildings will all have to come from grants and rates. Some of our older buildings are on prime real estate and the reality that once they are sold they are gone forever should raise some interest.

here they are:

submission re council facilities 27.729.5.17

Delivery and Operational budget submission

Don’t forget the National Tree day planting is at Brownes Farm in Hoxton Park this sunday, council always throws a good BBQ and entertainment for the kids, so come along, plant a tree or three and have a lovely day out in what is being promised a pretty spectacular 26 degree day.

 

See you there


I want more

June 10, 2017

Budget and Delivery Programs

May 18, 2017

Hi, It’s been quite a while since I posted, lots happening however there are a few things I’d like to update you on.

Forums have changed, sadly without discussion with the attendees, along with the format for community forums have changed. Some changes are positive however the frequency is one of the less positive. While we used to meet every month now they are held every three months and the locations have increased. Council has prepared a detailed list of the venues and dates and having attended all 6 in April the increase in attendance was approximately 1/3rd. Many of the old participants were not in attendance and it will be very interesting to see if this remains so, whether the numbers will increase or lessen and the format endorsed remains to be seen. The new forums are run by councillors, Labor and LCIT party councillors, the positive being that 6 councillors now attend the forums where previously only 2 sometimes 3 showed up of the 11.

Drawing attention to the fewer forums events (now being quarterly) means that now as the Budget and delivery program are on public exhibition the usual community engagement amounts to just one public event being presented and that was held tonight at Carnes Hill community centre. Having been away for some time during the last month this almost escaped me too, thankfully a call this afternoon alerted me to the program and I and 5 other attendees were taken through the basics. I urge everyone to get a copy of the documents and take some time to read through them. As always there are some positives and a few questions I”ll need to consider, however after many years of requesting both forward projections and past years data this has been provided.  The staff in attendance were more than happy to answer questions and each offered to be contacted directly with other concerns.

Sadly and no real surprise was that not one councillor chose to attend to listen to the concerns and questions of residents. NOT ONE!! Either they couldn’t be bothered, there was a briefing session or someone forgot to tell them lol. I’m guessing with the council meeting on the 31 it is possible for there to be a briefing session, disappointing if  that is the case but possibly not as disappointing as the idea that none of them could be bothered. Alas I’m sure someone will enlighten us.

Having missed the last council meeting (6 since 2007) I’m a little out of the loop on some things however all is pretty much back to normal and I will be darkening your email doorsteps again, hopefully regularly.

Don’t’ forget NOW IS THE TIME  to lodge your concerns and questions in relation to council expenditure and incomes over the coming year. If you don’t make the effort you can’t complain if the council spends your rates money contrary to your expectation. With the plans for a VERY EXPENSIVE Civic Centre in train, proposed debt/borrowings over about 10yrs of over $100million on top of the infrastructure backlog in the hundreds of millions. Parking costs will increase, rental of council properties will increase, so it’s time to have a close look, consider the fairness and ensure the equity for all residents .

Thanks to the 5 staff members who were in attendance, I’m looking forward over the coming days to drill further into the detail and prepare my submission, I believe it’s due on the 28th. (clearly I need to check lol)

Watch this space, thanks to those who enquired about me and my lack of postings.

 

 

 


Time Flies – now back to business.

March 27, 2017

While many may be thinking I have disappeared the truth is quite the opposite. Council has changed forums from 2 to 6 and so far this month I have already attended 4 with varying results and have another 2 this week. I know a number of people who are dismayed at the changes without consultation with those who attended the previous forums and for me the decision as to their effectiveness is not yet known. I know that where I used to attend 2 and was welcomed, one councillor (as chair) has decided he would not enforce the ‘you’re not welcome you don’t live here’ clause in the new terms of reference. Lovely isn’t it, as a concerned and involved member of the community (and not just the one around my house) I am deemed an unwelcome addition. Funny I would have expected those kind of comments from the last majority however surprised the new is continuing the ‘them and us’ notions of the past. The eastern and 2168 panels are to be held this week and it will be interesting to see how they go. As I said I am reserving judgement for now, some attendances have been good and others not so, more importantly at some it is noticeable that former attendees have not been in attendance, dividing the areas may have something to do with that. It is also interesting to see these panels being chaired by councillors with staff as supporters. More interesting is that a number of these councillors never saw fit to actually attend any of the former forums but do so now as they get to chair and decide who is welcome and who is not. I do have to say at one if I had heard the word “guys” one more time I might have screamed, our penchant for americanising our language is one thing but 20-30 times in succession is a bit much. It will be interesting to see how these pan out, as has been identified a couple of times the community can request that they are held more frequently than the proposed quarterly and how that will impact on some residents is yet to be seen.

This week is the council meeting, I regret poor health prevented me attending the last (not too bad missing only 5 in 9 yrs) so I am now reading through both last months and this month’s papers in the hope I’ve not missed anything too important. That said items in confidence are again numerous this week, there are 7, and while it is not unusual for there to be a dozen on the agenda, the idea that information (of the non commercial inconfidence style) is being with held. One cannot clearly make out what each of the items in confidence are referring to and the act seems to give license to way too much information being withheld from those who are actually paying for it, we the rate payers.

I am pleased to see a couple of items near and dear to my heart on this agenda, the Tree replacement questions are incredibly important and our lack lustre approach to removal of trees in development sites has for too long gone unaddressed and the councils penchant for replacing trees with shrubs has been questioned by me on numerous occasions previously. Or in the case of this picture and entire tree removed rather than preventative work done in the first place. Worse is it is unlikely this tree will be replaced at all. 😦

There are a few things we as a community should be closely watching and commenting on in the wider community, the councils 2027 strategic plan is on  public exhibition until Wednesday and this is your opportunity to comment… while at the same time the Greater Sydney Commission public comments are due. This is particularly important as in many (all) cases this unelected, unrepresentative group of people get to override the elected members of our councils and make decisions that will impact our futures, how development and growth impact on generations still to come. While I am confident not all their decisions will be bad for us, who elected them, who asked that this group of most likely well meaning but completely unrepresentative of our community gets to make decisions as to what gets dumped on us next?

I don’t think many people are aware of the numerous and enormous impacts things like the Moorebank Intermodal, the Badgerys Creek Airport, CSG mining and the New ever disgraceful Worlds Largest Incinerator (at Eastern Creek)  will affect our air, our water and our climate with all that pollution and concrete. As a community we really do have to rally against being the dumping ground for abhorrent development, no matter how pretty a bow of environmentally friendly they tie to it. None of those projects are good for the environment, not for your health, not for your kids health and their kids to come…  It’s a little like Cllr Balloots Affordable housing question a month or two ago, he titled it Affordable housing, but on reading it, it actually addressed not one concern that would make housing more affordable, it did however if it had not been withdrawn at the last minute, benefit developers very well. Far too often today are we being sold environmentally beneficial projects that in fact have no benefit to the environment at all… the label helps sell the project but on closer reading in too many instances it actually has the opposite effect. It not unlike the present federal government’s push to reduce taxes to big business, one, it would be nice if they paid appropriate taxes in the first place but removing them under the guise that it helps business employ more workers is just bunkum, it most certainly does improve their  bottom line and that of their shareholders but when did you hear of a company increasing wages? when did you hear that they employed more workers and not put off people/downsize or move off shore? As for small businesses they won’t get any benefit at all and if you read the bureau of statistics figures more small businesses operate locally than big ones and they could really do with a few more customers, you know by increasing the support for those unable to find work or those unable to find enough work so they can spend locally, raising wages, supporting penalty hours, so locals could spend at the local stores and actually boost employment and productivity. This is a subject I could talk about for hours but for now I need to work on my submissions and work on things that will actually benefit my community.

Thanks to those who enquired after my non attendance at the last council meeting, all is well and your concerns appreciated.

See you at the council meeting on Wednesday, or the Eastern forum on Tuesday, 2168 on Thursday…

 


1st council meeting for 2017

January 31, 2017

2016 Signe OutdoorsTomorrow night is the first council meeting for 2017. Don’t forget they begin at 6pm sharp and are generally more interesting if you know what is on the agenda.

http://liverpool.infocouncil.biz/Open/2017/02/CO_20170201_AGN_320_AT.PDF

So far the agenda isn’t too taxing and there are a couple of items of particular interest, one being NOM01 being put forward by Cllr Balloot… “That as Liverpool is growing and demand is increasing for affordable housing Council should investigate ways to cut red tape and reduce the time to earmark and prioritise lands for new housing developments in an effort to counter the crisis of housing affordability hitting Sydney currently.”

So where is the question about affordability…? He’s most certainly wanting more houses approved and faster but in reading his question and that of the reply nowhere is mentioned the actual percentage of actual affordable housing needed, nor the manner in which to achieve or even cost factors involved in providing AFFORDABLE HOUSING. It sadly screams to me of calling for one thing in the name of another for the benefit of the developer and nothing for the residents in need of affordable housing. Liverpool and surrounds has a real need for housing that is affordable but nothing in this request for expedience is there a provision to provide anything other than more houses – faster, which in fact does not raise or technically provide affordable housing. What we should be calling for is a provision of a set amount of housing being provided that is actually affordable, but developers won’t jump on board and providing more housing may raise the availability of housing but nothing in here suggests how to make it more affordable. (rent capping or even a hint of it isn’t to be found anywhere)

The other is the New Precinct meetings being proposed quarterly or as needed… this will pretty much mean the abolishment of the community forums of which you know I regularly attend and find a particularly engaging manner of getting residents together. It will be interesting to see if there are any changes made to the proposed format. I note that a Cllr Chairperson is to be nominated which is a bit of a laugh when you consider only Cllrs Harle, Shelton and recently Haggarty ever attend. Well that’s not quite true a couple of other councillors managed an appearance prior to an election here and there but they are not what one would call high on the agenda for the majority of councillors. I imagine there will be some toing and froing for chairing some in the ‘more desireable’ locations but only time will tell. Sadly every-time the council chooses to ‘play’ around with the format of the forums it has a huge cost in the way of attendance and the sceptic in me sees this as more of the same. I”m not sure how the Rural forum attendees are going to feel about their meetings being reduced to quarterly as they have in recent times had good attendance monthly.

Please come up and say hi if you are at the meeting tomorrow night – I try to sit where I can watch the majority of the councillors, how they vote etc

Remember these are your rates being discussed, distributed and dissected it’s in your best interest to know where they are being spent. I also tweet during the meetings, if you aren’t connected to twitter you can still read them as they appear to the right of this post throughout the meeting. Again, I would like to congratulate Kiersten Fishburn on her appointment as CEO. I have always found Kiersten fair, engaging and willing to listen to the community so to me that is a real win for the community especially compared to the formers.

See you tomorrow… council chambers, to the right of the Liverpool Main Library doors at 6pm.

Sign off


Good Bye 2016

December 31, 2016

Image0211Here we are at the end of what can only be described as a weird year. Too many of the people on our planet have taken a huge right turn and it’s not pretty. Greed has taken over and self serving politicians seem to dominate the landscape.

How is  this an unusual and weird year…? Let’s start with the Brits, they managed to completely confuse themselves by voting for an exit to the EU… waking up the next day like they had a hangover and wondered what happened. The US went nuts and voted for an egomaniac and we in Australia raised the profile of a bunch of hateful liars who are intent on spreading poor even incorrect information to scare the community into thinking everyone is out the to get them. I remember growing up in a somewhat different time, most of my recollections of the 60’s and 70’s are memories of everyone getting on with the day to day and if a neighbour needed some help they just did what they could. To pretend there weren’t racists about would be naive, however as a child of an immigrant and being reasonably aware of our difference I cannot say I ever felt fear for my safety or even that my neighbour hated me and my family… yet the politicians who peddle the hate and fear of today do exactly that. We are supposed to be a more informed and educated society but the reality is, waaaaaaaayyyyy to many people get their news from shock jocks or media with an agenda. Whether that is self serving or worse controlled by media giants who want more control and less fact reaching the community. It’s time we as a community stood up and said enough is enough. We have many issues affecting us locally that have been ‘sold’ to the community as beneficial but when push comes to shove no one can define the benefit or produce the information required to ensure we do get the purported benefits.  The Moorebank intermodal will not be good for Liverpool, yes it will bring a few jobs and a few companies who rely on freight but it will also drive away potential businesses as our roads will be in gridlock the majority of the time. That’s without touching the hefty impacts such a development will have on the residents of Liverpool and our surroundings, be it air pollution, damage to our precious waterways, even the liveability of our city. Our council has spent hundreds of thousands of our rates dollars to ensure the community is aware and I can pretty much guarantee that percentage wise a very low number of people truly understand the impacts or worse even know about them… some may be aware of the reported benefits, even though the supporting documents cannot prove any such benefit. Same goes for the Badgerys Creek airport. I cannot get past the fact that if the airport is bad for the residents of Mascot and surrounding suburbs how in the hell is it going to be good for the residents in one of NSW’s largest growth areas? Especially when we won’t even have a curfew or the same restrictions afforded Mascot and Sydney’s drinking water will be directly under the flight paths. This doesn’t even touch on things like the impacts of digging coal out of the ground around the state and the immediate damage being done to waterways and the local communities. We are being sold a pup and so few actually seem to care.  The climate is in a bad way and without dramatic changes right now it’s closing in on irreversible and we, all of us, need to step up….

On a personal level I have much to be thankful for this year, my family are pretty well and cared for and very loved. The people with whom I associate are informed and passionate about the communities in which we live and the planet as a whole. Most of all they care.

There are of course things all of us need to consider changing, adjusting or being more aware of and to me that is just normal…I am grateful for the many readers who have taken the time this year to read and respond, even those not wanting to have their information shared. I am grateful for the change in local councillors and that some of  the worst have not returned. I am hopeful for a more inclusive year where more people get involved in local issues.

We do however need to ensure we are better informed, I was surprised when discussing politics with someone yesterday the amazing lack of knowledge associated with politics in this country. The associate and her colleagues had no clue that the likes of Pauline Hanson, Leyonhjelm etc make very good money out of running for federal seats. Especially if they get their 4% and don’t actually win a seat  as they get to keep the money and not have to work for it. Don’t get me wrong every political party earns at a Federal election once they reach 4%, the bigger groups who actually get people elected use that to fund lots of things within their party. We Green’s operate a little differently in that in NSW the local groups manage the funds and they generally finance future elections and the running of the  group and local issues. This I understand is very different to that of even Greens in other states and it is exactly why we at FLG were able to donate a bit of money to ensure 30 local families weren’t hungry this Christmas. For NSW Greens groups the goal is to raise awareness around issues and policies that are of importance to our communities not necessarily ‘winning’ seats although that is indeed beneficial when it comes to actually ensuring change in how politics is done in this country. Our Greens politicians are all hard working and extremely dedicated, that makes me very proud when some things we do achieve benefit the whole community.  All our local group members here in Liverpool and Fairfield do what we do as volunteers and we don’t pay staff or excessive costs for campaign materials etc. We actually manage to run our elections very cheaply and work towards ensuring politics is full of people with a passion for change not a passion for a well paid job, which sadly appears to be the goal of many other individuals and parties and something I personally rally against. The idea of scoring a well paid job followed by a golden handshake in my opinion brings out the worst in people and we should be expecting better.

Thank you all for your contributions and  your patience with my less than regular posts this year, it has been a big year in that elections are time and energy expensive.

I would like to wish you all a very Happy New Year.  2017 is shaping up to be a  big year, thankfully not an election one for us so we can focus on some of the local issues that are of most import to our local community.

Stay safe and I will see you in 2017.

 

Sign off