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. ūüė¶

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…

 

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BENEFITS VS LIABILITIES

August 20, 2015

Signe Westerberg HeadshotsFAV (78 of 102)Here we are in August 2015, we have a Liberal National Government, a Liberal State Government and a Liberal majority local government. So let’s look at the benefits we get from this as Liverpudlians. We Get a Mega Modal at Moorebank, we get immeasurable damage to our air quality, safety and our river, we get an Airport at Badgerys Creek without a rail¬†link but it too will have another paid expressway, we get more trucks on our local roads, we get lots of pictures of the Mayor, we get infighting amongst those same local Libs that makes the Mainstream media regularly,¬†we get a lot of stomping and stamping from¬†MP’s Craig Kelly and Melanie Gibbons, we get to lose our¬†historical presence at the Military barracks for all time thanks to said intermodal, we get committees locally that are predominantly business people, who don’t necessarily live here,¬†directing the way we head economically in Liverpool, we get lots more pollution, we get waaay more congestion, we get no noise barriers on the M5, we get more noise along the SSFL and we get another lane on the M5 (someone has to provide for all those trucks) we get millions of dollars spent ensuring the Mayor and his cronies get a mall ¬†in Liverpool built before the next election, we get greater housing infill, higher rise developments, we get looser planning instruments thanks to the state government, we get less of a voice over development in our communities, we get the threat of amalgamated councils, ¬†we get more public transport, just kidding thats not happening, we get a council intent on selling our public space and pocket parks, oops that’s reclassification in view to sell, we get a proposal that at the cost of several million George and Northumberland Streets will be opened to two way traffic (imagine for one minute accessing the car park in Northumberland St from the south/north lane and the safety???)

So how is ¬†having the party in power working for us in Liverpool…. no too well in my opinion? What’s worse we get people who sing the praise of the Mannouns, Kellys and Gibbons’s who being part of the party of power are basically voiceless in their own parties. What the bloody hell for I ask… anyone can stand on a soap box and decry all the problems but wouldn’t you think electing those in power would bring some of that power to our community, IT SEEMS NOT, in fairness we’re getting more Voice from the likes of Alan Jones than electing any of these politicians has afforded us and Alan is quite selective in what he supports and what he doesn’t,of course his prerogative. We also get a pretty much silent opposition from the Labor members elected, but in fairness it’s their turn to say we aren’t in government we can only try. At council meetings you will see some councillors of opposition try but I have commented before at the appalling manner in which they are treated, so 3 years in I think that their opposition ¬†has lessened or ¬†a the very least been beaten down.

I look at the list above and think may be all those ‘we gets’ are the liabilities…not the benefits and we’ll continue to get nothing while ever the community blindly follows the old parties down which ever track they choose to pull us.

AND…before anyone tells me we’re finally getting stuff happening in Liverpool, most of the proposed local upgrades and improvements have been long planned and while timely for this elected bunch they were at least on the drawing board for some time.¬†Some changes in location but some might say thats to appease a particular local business or two not the community.¬†I know I was on one of the committees who worked on them in years past. The only real change is the willingness, even eagerness of this council to borrow money from the future (TIF for ten years) to ensure things¬†¬†‘happen’ during this term.

So over to you, please share your list of benefits and liabilities, its nearly that time of year when I do a run down on council in the last 12 months. How are your local roads looking, do you feel you are better informed with what is happening with your rates dollars, are the facilities in your area up to the standard you want, need, desire? There will be as always differing opinions, not everyone watches as closely as I do to what happens in Liverpool. Not everyone cares or has the time to speak up but if you’d like to register some items here that you feel makes a difference, please do.

We have a great city, a wonderful community and a rich vibrant mix of residents, share your views, your ideas, the things you love about Liverpool today, perhaps even those things you miss.

Lastly don’t forget next week is the council meeting, you can check out the agenda online tomorrow, presently there is only an attachment document. We have just on 12months to an election, you will hear lots and lots over the coming months, most of it will be self promotion but who knows I could be wrong.

Lastly,  there was a meeting about air quality and impacts at the Hilda M Davis centre tonight, sadly work commitments prevented me making it on time, so if you happened to make it, please share the outcome, Cathy Oke was up from Victoria as one of the key drivers of this initiative so I am keen to hear what you thought about it.

More soon once I”ve had a chance to read the business papers…remember our parks will be on the agenda either this month or next so watch this space.

 

Sign off

 

 

 

PS… all the business papers are online at: ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†http://www.liverpool.nsw.gov.au/council/council-meetings/Council-Meeting-Business-Papers

 

 

 

 

 


Big things

May 30, 2015

Signe Westerberg Headshots (38 of 102)WOW what a week, this time last week I’d just returned from the ¬†Moorebank residents action against the concrete recycling rally at Georges Fair. Please note¬†the PAC meeting is this coming Monday at 3pm at Bankstown sports club. While I’m usually the one calling for recycling, the idea of concrete being crunched this close to the community and the river is just not on. Liverpool cannot be the dumping place for all the crap no one else wants.

Following this I was delighted to meet an amazing couple of people from the Chinese community who were guest speakers at our local Greens meeting. I cannot describe the disdain I felt hearing the terrible stories of detention and organ harvesting that is happening today in China and how the community here and there ¬†is so totally unaware. They say that even Australians are travelling to China for transplants, little do they know the donor, doesn’t always consent. Truly scary stuff and worthy of more investigation and protest.

Tuesday was the council meeting, brought forward no doubt so councillors didn’t miss the State of Origin. ¬†Credit to Cllr Waller for reminding the other councillors that representling the community is an honour and an obligation. One distressing point made by councillor Shelton was a line had been removed from the budget that I’d clearly missed … ¬†the Environmental Levy is to fund an Enviro Centre/Nursery…(more on that shortly) and when he questioned the CEO, Mr Wulff said we can always buy trees. ¬†This short sighted and clearly incomplete idea of the facility is one thing but to simply remove it from a budget is appalling. As your community representative on that committee for a few years now, one of the major benefits to come from the levy was that Council could provide the community with an exemplary facility that would show them in real terms what can be achieved in an environmentally considerate and practical way,¬†Meeting rooms and if possible a cafe. Along with that we could substantially save council by propagating locally significant plants to line our streets and fill our parks at a fraction of the cost we’re paying now. The flippant line that we could buy trees simply shows that the CEO is focused on the bottom line of the balance sheet not what is in the long term best interest of the people of Liverpool. While that in some things the budget is good¬†focal point, however¬†this particular funding is tied ¬†and I am hopeful sufficiently tightly so that particular line will be reinstated in the Budget. On another issue and one that concerns me, how can the CEO¬†simply¬†override the budget of the past… that particular budget¬†2014/15¬†was passed by the community through submissions and the councillors, what is his authorisation to simply remove it? Quite frankly this particular project would have been up and running had it not been for a couple of disruptions , one being a former councillor with an agenda and another being the impost of the Moorebank intermodal and the proposed Bridge across to it. ¬†Why is it when if comes to caring for our environment, it is the first to be shafted when another ‘idea’ comes along? Easy I guess, dismiss it as a green agenda and voila, it’s unpopular or worse a good idea that needs to be ignored. It is really important that we the community speak up, we cannot simply be dismissed when a new broom sweeps through. We (the community) are here for the long haul, while CEO’s etc ¬†generally are not.

I will keep you informed on this one, our EAC group has worked, investigated and cared for your environment levy like it was our own, oh yeah, we’re ratepayers it blinking is. The Committee is made up of 2 community reps, of which I’ve been one for some time,¬†¬†one business representative and a number of community organisations invested in bringing the best outcomes. We are not fly by nights who need a line item on a resume.

On the budget, only three people put in submissions and two used the online facility. As a community it is really important we share our views, comment on issues affecting our community and this option is presently available in relation to a bunch of parks council is considering disposing of, sorry that’s reclassifying ( I mentioned this in a previous post)… please register on Liverpool Listens and have your say. With our community growing at such a pace we must protect our parks and open space, we need to protect them, we need to speak up and in this instance we need to say NO SELLING OUR GREEN SPACE. There is a link on the Council webpage to get involved with the Liverpool Listens facility, it doesn’t take long and doesn’t require long involved or detailed submissions. We do however need to be mindful in how these surveys are written, we experienced this with the Badgery’s Creek one some time ago and more recently on the council amalgamations survey, sadly if you opposed amalgamations like I do, you were unable to accurately state this and complete the survey. I’ve made sure council staff were aware of this and trust that this won’t happen again. I guess I will have to write a formal submission on that particular item as surely there will be no voices of dissent if I don’t such as the way this survey was written.

I missed Sorry day on Monday but was delighted to hear Cllr Waller and one other cllr (sorry I missed their name) were in attendance. Unsurprisingly the Mayor was not one of them, knowing his penchant for not showing up, there’s rarely a surprise there, he is gaining quite the reputation for being a no show, even at the Moorebank Action he was significantly late,¬†another in his modus operandi.

Alas that is all for now, I will keep you posted on events as I hear about them. As always please let me know if there is information you think¬†I’ve missed, misheard, misunderstood, or you heard differently. It’s easy to say my info is wrong, just as easy to help spread the alternative view if you are so inclined and apparently even easier to offer criticism instead of information.

 

Until next time…

Sign off

 

 

ps… Moorebank intermodal project is online and ready for additional comments from the community… I’ll post the link soon.

 


A little overdue, some information, and some well wishes — all with a little colour

December 22, 2014

signe-westerberg-headshotsfav-78-of-102-21We are about to embark on what is traditionally a joyous and completely complicated time of year, while many/even most people enjoy the Christmas giving season, too many others are distraught with sadness, uncertainty and misgivings…


Here is a quick catch up from me.

I am going to start with my thankfulness for the company of some truly outstanding people I’ve come across and worked with throughout the past year. Liverpool‚Äôs residents are by far an amazing collage of people, cultures and levels of engagement all making that fine fabric we call Liverpool. To all those people I say thank you and may these coming weeks, bring, rest and enjoyment and the company of family and friends.

Council…that’s a whole different subject I’m afraid to say. Lots of our rate paying dollars are being directed at pet projects so the Liberal councillors can claim they have achieved things. In fairness they have achieved a little, or to be more accurate they have managed to finalise tasks that were initiated in the previous council and brand them with their stamp. One such success is the Men’s shed that opened only last week. Many of us have been singing the praise of such establishments for quite some time and through the diligence of some of our residents it has come to pass… quite an amazing establishment on the entrance of Casula Powerhouse road, a stone’s throw from the Georges River. My sincere congratulations to the steering committee and the many residents who donated not only time but tools for this brilliant initiative. Next imo is a hope that these fine residents extend their hand of friendship and support to Mates for Mates and encourage another outstanding community group to appreciate the wonderful facilities as well.

 

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The Mens shed opening

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The Night markets have proved controversial to many residents, tens of thousands of rates dollars have now be seconded to support this project… and whether or not it’s proven successful is equally controversial. Not many I’ve spoken with consider this a viable/valuable use of their rates, especially with the limited residential participation.  It has, as have many other council paid for events proved a popular stage for supporting the Federal and State Liberal members, sadly it doesn’t appear that the other (non-Liberal) members of parliament have been afforded the same courtesy. Even at the opening of the Men’s shed only Liberal MP’s were in attendance and while I’m not 100% sure of the invitation detail, one even claimed ownership over another MP’s electorate.

While it is pleasing that there appears to be renewed business interest in the CBD, and the powermadmayor’s penchant for counting cranes as a measure of success, much of this is due to the present and previous NSW state govt‚Äôs directive to increase housing infill and of Greenfield building has Liverpool abuzz with building activity. My sincere concern that what is being put in place contains contingencies for ongoing maintenance and renewal is secured for the future. Much of the business interest is being attributed to the Badgerys Creek airport announcement a few months ago. ¬†Add to that the increased vehicular activity on our roads from the intermodal where both developments will prove to be a nightmare for residents over the coming years. No genuine consideration has been given to the impacts on the community, our farm lands, our rivers and our future health outcomes above that of the need for the greater community instead of the needs of ours. ¬†The opening of another lane on the M5 last week is no doubt designed to trick the community into thinking the progress is for their benefit, alas the steady increase of trucks on our roads will prove who will be the prime target in coming months and years.

Onto a couple of things we really need to keep an eye on. At the last council meeting of the year a couple of properties were approved for public exhibition from community land to operational land.

While the title seems a little ambiguous the reality is that the Hilda M Davis senior citizens hall  (our most central and one of the largest) could be sold from underneath us….as with some other community lands. What disgusts me most about this is the council’s decision to put these on public exhibition over the holiday period. Notoriously a time when fewer of our residents are paying attention, attention enough to object within the designated period required. I implore you to watch out for this and lodge a complaint or a submission if you, like me think this council should  not be selling the Hilda M or any of our open space while so many of our suburbs are being in-filled with multi story developments and people who will need community centres and space. Most especially deplorable is that it is being done during the holiday period when papers are fewer and fewer people are paying close attention.

Another project that deserves your attention is the proposed changes to the CBD, Bigge park etc. Some of the proposed changes never made it to public exhibition and are quite a concern. One of note is the opening of Macquarie Street to traffic of an evening, changing the commemorative aspect (statue and plaque etc) of Light horse Park into playing fields to name just two. Log onto the Liverpool Listens website and have your say… look at the proposals and make comments, either in support or against them, this will be your only opportunity it seems.

14 different items were discussed and decided upon in confidence at the last council meeting. I found that particularly interesting, as at his first meeting as CEO,  Mr Wolff explained he was not used to matters in confidence being part of a council agenda, seems he’s learned to manage well as I think 14 is a new record. I still believe when it is rates funding that is paying for the spending sprees, the community should be afforded the detail not just a summary at the end. I do of course reserve and preserve individuals privacy but corporations hiding behind sections 10/2 a,b,c etc of the act does not inspire confidence for me.

Lastly and most sincerely, if this coming Christmas/New Year period raises emotional, traumatic or struggling periods for you, please seek help, there are a number of credible and caring services in the community who can help you through the difficult times and you do not have to endure it alone. During the many years I owned LSO, I saw both the fun and friendly and the sad and destructive sides of these holidays and it is essential we keep an eye on each other, offer a listening ear or seek support.

Our community is a good one, sometimes a little self-focused or  even thoughtless to the needs of others, sometimes over the top, but it is a good community and each and every one of you are an intricate and important part of what makes Liverpool great. Together we are simply the best and I’m enormously proud to call Liverpool home.

Thank you for your contribution to my year, thank you for the amazing conversations, the passion and the support. My hope is to return to more regular posts next year, especially in the lead up to the NSW state election. My career change this year has taken time away from my blog, but my passion for Livo remains unchanged and unchallenged. My attendance at forums/meetings etc has  not been affected although my commenting on them has been lessened. (Did I  hear some cheers  along with some of those complaints at my tardiness LOL)

From My family to yours – Merry Christmas to those who celebrate, Happy New year to all and may 2015 bring you and your family much joy, good health, more security and a Greener state Govt.

Below the fabulous Community choir who entertained at the councils end of year bash…

 

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As always if your view differs from mine, I’m more than happy to share it here, so please write back if you’d like to comment.

Sign off


Fears vs Facts, results and opinion.

November 25, 2014

Signe Westerberg Headshots (38 of 102)I have been sitting here thinking about the amazing people I’ve spent time with ¬†during the last 12 months. Here we are nearing ¬†the end of the year, over the last 12 months I¬†have as always been honoured to be sitting along side them at community forums, walking along side them at public functions, actions and ¬†exhibitions and generally being involved with the dynamic people who make up Liverpool. Life has been very busy and my writing has been severely hampered ¬†by the number of things I am doing these days but I am looking forward to a quieter time over the coming months to regroup, re focus and re energise…

2015 is going to be a big year, the NSW people will be again asked to decide who should run the state government and seriously with the disgusting trough trolling of the two old parties I think this will be the year when all voters really have to sit back and say enough is enough. I’ve been thinking about this a lot and¬†¬†I think is very important… can you¬†blame the two old parties for ignoring you and treating you with contempt, when you keep on voting them in regardless of what they do to you, against you and against our future they really don’t have to worry because come rain or shine, they’ve set it up that one or the other will be re-elected? Well just for the record that’s not necessarily true… you the voter could really shake things up, you could really start the ball rolling on genuine change. Can you imagine how much attention both the old parties would pay us out here in dear old Liverpool if someone other than Labor or Liberal got voted¬†into representing us¬†¬†in Macquarie St? It’s no secret that I think the Greens offer the most forward thinking and community based policies and even if you don’t agree with them all, there would be very few who would deny our passion and commitment to the community. I do think this coming election will see a bunch of independents raise their hands but the question I ask you is the very same question I asked myself when I ran as an independent….how does ¬†one person know what their whole community wants without a strong and committed team behind them? Needless to say I think Jacqui Lambie is a good example of this, she came into parliament on one promise and now only a few months in she’s changed her mind. Where does this leave those who voted for her promises and commitment now? Well meaning or not,¬†on the money sometimes and others not even close,¬†the hardest part of being an independent is wanting to make sure you are truly representing your community..well it was for me. I have truly appreciated that being part of a party allows you a plethora of opinions, ideas and debate and people listening around the community and having a strong base from which to represent your community.
Anyway back to the basics¬†at home….

I am pleased and saddened to advise that I was pretty much correct in the make-up of the Badgerys Creek Taskforce. While all the names have now been released (via this months Council Agenda) I can say that the first name called was that of Neil Lal, Liberal Party member and former candidate for the Liberals….and if you believe what is in hansard some might even say he’s got a questionable/interesting history. As reported Pauline Rowe is a member (and resident of Badgerys Creek) and Local business Identity Harry Hunt got a guernsey¬†too. ¬†Briona (who’s surname escapes me) was also included compliments of Cllr Wallers request and two others. As I predicted the Greens and likely Labor won’t get any input into what happens¬†in relation to the Badgerys Creek proposed Airport,¬†which is quite sad considering a state election is just around the corner and our local council is making it very clear that they cannot work with others and that it’s their way or the highway….

I am disgusted that even though the community chose to elect more than just the Liberal party onto council, they have a majority¬†therefore if you voted other than Liberal, they refuse to allow your voice be heard. In particular Cllr Stanley has been excluded from every committee, tokenism was shown to other Labor councillors and Cllr Harle got elected (again) to everything that the Libs themselves didn’t want. Being fair and reasonable seems a stretch too far for this #powermadmayor and his cohorts.

Having now attended all but the first few of the Economics  Committee meetings I can report that in some instances the events have had a positive outcome. While many of the events are regulars on the Liverpool calendar, with the economics committee being well supported  has been able to publicise and promote them, clearly better than has been done in the past. As to the night markets I am not convinced the numbers have increased as is often reported, however more people are aware of some of the events which is in itself a good thing for Liverpool.  The night markets are still a bit of an unknown quantity as to success, more and more rates dollars have been allocated to supporting the already heavily subsidised event by council (i.e. you and me) whether value for money that is still to be seen. The #powermadmayor and his cohorts certainly make sure they and their state and federal colleagues get sufficient press and attention, only time will tell if this is for Liverpools benefit or simply with the a state election on the horizon, will  similar will be done in the coming months?  With the intermodal and Badgerys Creek airport hot topics I am sure any opportunity to trot out the Liberal candidates will be taken. I guess the hope is should this be the case, fair and equitable opportunity will be provided for all political persuasions, unlike the past.

It is fair to say I am very politically aware, I have great faith in democracy. I sincerely believe it can be better and with voters so reasonably disillusioned by the old parties as I mentioned above and the few who have been caught with their hands in the till , I am extremely hopeful residents (voters) take the necessary time to really look at the candidates, find out who is seeking to represent them and who is  genuinely wanting to represent them and why. This to me is particularly important as the new seat of Holsworthy is deserving of candidates who want to represent them, not being their second choice as is the case for  the Liberal candidate.

I was also saddened to hear Dr McDonald has decided not to contest the seat of Macquarie Fields in the state election, he is one of the few I consider genuinely wanting to work for his community. I do wish him well in the future. Former Labor member and now Liberal councillor Hadid has announced he will run in the seat of Liverpool against incumbent MP Paul Lynch and rumour has it another Liberal councillor is considering throwing his hat in the ring also. With Barry O’Farrell changing the rules so¬†that councillors cannot be both councillors and Local Members should they be elected would that mean Liverpool would be thrown into a bi-election and at whose cost?¬†Will Mr Hadid be relying on his present Liberal history and celebrity or his many years as a Labor man to garner your vote?

Focusing on all things political is easy for me it interests me on so many levels, I do hope as we move closer to the State election, others might take a little more interest, not only in what a candidate says, but if in fact that candidate has ever shown the slightest interest or involvement ¬†in the past. For instance, look at Liverpool councillors, how many of them actually involved themselves in happenings in Liverpool BEFORE they asked for your vote…¬†4 out of the 11 were pretty much unknowns (except perhaps to their immediate close circles I guess), while the 7 of the 11 ¬†were previous councillors of whom, 5/6 of them had been virtual unknowns (again except to their immediate close circles)…. Should we be demanding more of the candidates who represent us? Should we expect they have some kind of involvement before they seek your vote? Don’t get me wrong, sometimes 1 passionate nobody will achieve more than 10 self serving others… but how do we ensure a better balance for the community? I guess as the state election drawers near I will and I hope will others ask plenty more questions, seek answers and expect more. Fighting for our community is important, we need people who actually aren’t just seeking a long term political career, we need people who really want to achieve while they are there.

Council meeting is tomorrow night, I am particularly interested in one item on the agenda seeking an apology from a Penrith councillor for his shameful remarks about Liverpool and our community. I also see council is suggesting we take on further low interest rate loans and while this may fiscally make sense on occasion, the whole reason for the rates increase over the last 5 and a bit years was to ensure council didn’t over commit on loans. Clearly this is not the case as Liverpool compounds its debt more and more. There is another donation of $25,000 to the Wanderers football club and numerous other items. I will report on more after the meeting….as always if you are there come up and say hi or follow my tweets. I do get a bit tweet happy on council meeting nights ūüôā

Thats enough from me for now, please share with me your views and your opinions, get on board when there is something happening across our LGA, good, great, ¬†unfair or unreasonable, even if it doesn’t affect you directly…its time we all fought for the greater good, forgot our nimbyism and thought globally, even locally and less individually. Not long now and the Victorian State election is held, that too will be interesting and a quick well done to my colleagues in the Newcastle electorates who had bi elections due to sticky fingered old party MP’s as our Greens numbers rose significantly and those amazing candidates did themselves, their communities and our party so much good for standing firm on the priorities of good governance and fair representation.

 

Sign off

 


well there it was

September 28, 2014

Signe Westerberg Headshots FAV (26 of 102)Last weeks council meeting was pretty much everything one has come to ¬†expect. Cllr Stanley got rightly screwed over in the committees department, while her fellow labor members got token space on a couple of committees. Cllr Balloots pre-prepared and scripted rendition of who can and can’t attend committees was a copy of last years, ¬†just changing some of the names. Pretty insulting in many ways and certainly not true representative engagement OR worse using peoples skills (those who have some) where they could be most useful.

Cllr Waller asked the same question I did about the $65,000 honorarium payment to Professor Ed Blakely and I ¬†was surprised to hear he was paid $50,000 last year and that he is at council 2 days a week…hmmm really? Of course Cllr Hadchiti sang his praise and as always the Liberal majority passed everything they wanted as a matter of course. I am not disputing Prof ¬†Blakely’s credentials, what I am questioning is the amount of money we’re paying from our rates to one individual even if he spends 2 days a week on council….he is not elected by the people who are paying for his input and in this case the amount is just shy of what we pay the Mayor. Consultants (it was confirmed) cost Ratepayers a LOT of money and I can’t see where there is any attempt to minimise the costs to the ratepayers.

The trend to keep moving dollars around from the floor doesn’t seem to have lost its shine, 20,000 here why not double it… lucky for the ratepayers the council staff have an idea of how things work or these councillors would just give away the shop.

The of course there was the election of the deputy Mayor, Cllr Ristevski and Cllr Karnib were both nominated, you’ll never guess who got elected….but for 6 months not the usual 12 months. Cllr Ristevski will be the deputy and with his record of attending less than 50% of his committee meetings one has to ask will there ¬†be even more community events unattended. Word from the community is there are quite a few already left without the¬†invited guest in attendance. Time will tell as always and as there will be another election in 6 months will it be a case of everyone in the Liberal party getting a ‘turn’ at being deputy.

The Badgerys Creek airport task force didn’t get a mention, while I wasn’t surprised as it wasn’t on the agenda, it did surprise another community member who had come along specifically to see who was going to get the guernsey. Sadly this committee¬†will not get the fair and reasonable community involvement that the No Intermodal group has managed again¬†¬†time will tell.

There is also a laughable trend happening with voting. As I’ve mentioned the Liberals have a majority, and can and do pretty much get whatever they want passed…however on some issues the propensity for calling a division has me asking why…..? Who is it ¬†‘they’ want to know they voted for or against… is there a specific target, is there a particular section of the community who needs to know that this Lib and that Lib all voted for their issue or is one-up-man-ship the new game of choice? The other confronting issue is why is there such disunity in the Labor group, while I’m assured they don’t caucus, just watching their voting clarifies this completely. I have never seen the failure of one Labor persons motion being debated when they couldn’t even get a seconder for the motion from their own team member. While each individually is elected to represent the community, one has to ask why wouldn’t there be similarities in their voting based on Labor values. It certainly seems like the Liberal party either caucus, or are given their speeches prior to the meeting, poor Cllr Mamone was left to read one proposal that she clearly had no idea about… and if this is the case, who is doing the writing, who is doing the deciding and making the decisions?

Opening up the mall to evening traffic was a bit of a surprise, last we heard there was community consultation but listening to council seems decisions have been made, not all of them imo good for Liverpool… and not good that changes are being made simply because they have the numbers. As Cllr Waller said, Liverpool actually has a well functioning mall, why undo it, improve its appearance yes but change it, why?

Parks were debated and some comments made about involving more of the LOCAL community in the discussions, but in fairness not just immediate vicinity locals  who use our parks and all discussions regarding whether or not they should be sold for ever should be put to the entire community for comment. As I said last week, we should be holding onto our open spaces not simply selling them off for a quick buck.

Lastly a member of the gallery¬†asked me if I knew why the NEW CEO appeared¬†so unengaged? Quite frankly I thought¬†at¬†his first meeting he was just getting used to the process but this last meeting had others ask if he even knew what was going on. As I said previously I’ve not had a conversation with him and am hopeful he is finding his way and will do soon. I do have to ask though if all the changes in staff will have a positive affect or as I fear a sad and unsettling impact on staff? There have been a number of staff leaving Liverpool and I am sure I am not alone in wishing them well wherever they go.

That’s if for now, not a lot to report, the Mayor insists over 5000 attended the Starry Sari night event, however those in attendance tell me more likely a couple of thousand at best. Exaggeration or hopeful thinking I don’t know however ¬†I do hope considering the large amounts of rates money being used we see a good result for Liverpool, sometime soon.

til next time, if you have a different view or attended something let me know, I will post your opinions… and they are welcomed.

 

Sign off


A bit of this and a bit of that and of course a council meeting.

September 21, 2014

Signe Westerberg Headshots (60 of 102)As I’ve always said Liverpool is an outstanding city, the people for the most part are decent and caring, however residents¬†are so busy getting on with the matters of day to day life they rely on the people they elect to do as they promise and watch out for the big things that affect their community. Regrettably this is not always the case and not all those promises are fulfilled. For instance this month is the 2nd anniversary of the election of a Liberal majority in council. These 5 men and one woman came into council on the back of numerous promises. Let’s celebrate by looking back at not only the promises but the results. (In no particular order) Of course if you have a different view I’m more than happy to post it.

Promise: We’re going to put Liverpool on the map! ¬†One thing we did get on the map was the #powermadmayor… he has managed in the last two years to get his face just about everywhere, stationary, the lot….actually he is known for the ability to get his face everywhere but sadly for the most part ¬†it appears only to further his own career, people I speak with ¬†outside Liverpool don’t always know where he’s from but have heard his name or seen him, good for him but not necessarily good for¬†Liverpool?

Promised No 2: we will stop the Intermodal…. #thepowermadmayor¬†brought out the big guns for this one, engaging state and federal pollies to further his cause, all of whom are in opposition to their own party yet they still sang from the same ¬†NO song book….We’re all going to stop the intermodal. Guess what, so far all they have managed to do is spend a couple of hundred thousand of your hard earned rates dollars with no actual result…. a good chunk of that cash was directed at supporting the election of their federal colleague all in the name of fighting the intermodal.

Promise No 3. We’re open for business. This is an interesting one because in some cases some new business has come to Liverpool. Sadly the cynic in me says that the proposed Badgerys Creek Airport and the reality of the South West growth centre might have more to do with that than anything councillors could do. Indicative of politicians and¬†the nature of politics I guess, Paul ¬†Lynch has on numerous occasions taken credit for the rail link… each time he has, one has to ask if no one noticed the first, second and consecutive times he announced the same project.

If you look closely at Liverpool council and ignore the two years of upset and anxiety caused by numerous reshuffles and executive power plays… realistically it is the staff who create the programs that encourage people to come to Liverpool, the planning staff have been working hard on shortening DA approval times. It’s the staff who establish events to encourage businesses to engage with council but if you’ve ever attended a council meeting or a committee meeting, including¬†the Economics ones you’ll soon realise that while the Mayor and his councillors take the credit, it’s those very same majority councillors who attend less than 50% of the meetings they signed up for, at the exclusion of the Labor councillors.

Promise No 4: We’re going to improve the gateways, make Liverpool the destination of choice…. ok it’s taken two years but the Hume Hwy Gate way at Warwick farm has had a face lift…. there are about 6 others that need sincere attention, most especially the Liverpool railway station that initially didn’t even get included on the list….

Promise No: 5 We will get a university….. magnificent sounding but the reality not so exciting, while the #powermadmayor and his cohorts will take credit, ¬†Universities are big business and spend a good deal of time and research on establishing themselves across the community. While again the Libs will take credit, the most Liverpool can expect at this stage is a similar establishment to the one presently in Parramatta…a shop front. While it suits the needs of the university and no doubt its students, it won’t ¬†I believe be because of any one party or ¬†election promise.

Promise No: 6 We’re going to clean up this city….nice thought however the last time I walked around the streets of Liverpool it really isn’t much different¬†than that, ¬†that was achieved by the team Phil Tolhurst put together under the then Labor council majority. That is not necessarily something you can blame on council, there are a number of teams working on maintaining the city but it’s the public who leave¬†waste everywhere and there are still a number of retail premises with Large (actually larger than permitted) for Lease signs, helping create a shabby, unloved¬†look.

Promise No: 7 We will have a stadium….this particular pie in the sky hope is one that actually worries me, while I don’t see its funding anywhere in the near future, stadiums are like boats and horses -loveable¬†money pits. The worry comes from the fact that this council spends money like nothing else and we really can’t afford them committing more of our funds than we the rate payers can actually afford.. to me its like saying I want a Porsche, but reality shows I couldn’t afford a service let alone the ongoing upkeep…

Promise No 8, The Eat street…. well we don’t exactly have a thriving night culture of dining but there are a couple of new businesses in the south end of town. The fact that many of these businesses tailor for only a small portion of our community I am still hopeful that this will grow over time, not unlike Parramatta who boasts a great diversity in dining experience. While parking in this location was the key reason the previous CBD Committee chose a different location that doesn’t seem to have been a big consideration.

Now we’re onto money, this council has no hesitation is spending your rates: amounts in the six figures have¬†been committed to the night markets…they run at a loss presently and the fact the council just had to redirect another $100,000 from savings for sacking people the real question is will they ever be cost neutral or perhaps even turn a dollar or two? Again I am hopeful, and while I’ve heard numbers have remained the same are these new people coming to the markets, or simply the same people coming time and time again? ¬†The winter weather was not really conducive to large attendances so I am interested in knowing if the warmer weather will impact on attendances.

I asked the question a month or so ago….what changes good or bad can /have you seen in Liverpool. I was inundated with silence….either no one can see a difference or no one thought any of the changes good enough to mention.

Listening to the Mayor and deputy mayor count cranes as a way of checking improvement is somewhat a concern… there seems to be great excitement when a new crane raises itself around the CBD. I heard prominent businessman¬†say at a meeting not so long ago, “are¬†we really just creating Ghettos’ of the future”, this too will be an only time will tell but dear old Livo deserves better.

This weeks meeting has scheduled the election of councillors to committees and the Deputy Mayor. Cllr Hadid has held the position of Deputy Mayor for the last two years, as he is a very regular fixture in the council building it will be interesting to see if he gains the support of the Liberals again or they choose to give another among their ranks a go. I am eternally hopeful the “dogs breakfast” election ¬†event at last years September meeting is not repeated, it was so dreadful they had to completely ‘redo’ the elections. It still surprises me that at the previous September ¬†meeting Cllr Hadid made quite a speech about how he had served “his time” on committees and wouldn’t be doing so again, AND THEN managed to score the deputy Mayors role for an (I think) unprecedented second consecutive term… either councillors didn’t care or they simply followed instructions, either way such a declaration doesn’t leave one hopeful that his dedication to task ranks terribly high unless attached to the deputy mayor title.

There is also a proposed new committee, the Financial Contributions Panel… this one I hope will STOP expenditure from the floor of council without reasonable due diligence, a problem I’ve been commenting on now for ¬†6+ years. Spending money from the floor of council often has very large amounts of our rates money being directed at ‘pet’ projects or sadly imo vote buying community specific ¬†projects. I do live in hope that this committee will render the past spending sprees mute, that said the wording of the draft charter merely takes over the present method of funding community events or people, as always I am hopeful. I guess the necessity to include the clause about 3 meetings attendance or apologies is not necessary as there are no community members permitted, that said it’s a waste of ink on some committees anyway as the community representative is either so wanted in name ¬†that their failure to show up, neither gains a mention nor does the clause seem to be enacted upon due to their desirability.

I am also a little confused regarding the¬†Building our city committee… Prof: Ed Blakely has been an honorary member of the committee, now it seems we¬†are allocating¬†$65,000 for his ongoing cost of services…. nice work if you can get it I guess. A couple of meetings a month tops¬†from what I can see.¬†While I’m sure his advice is valuable, that seems a lot, but as there is an allocation of over $1M to the endeavour’s investigations maybe ¬†not. Perhaps my asking this question may encourage a councillor to advise us more of his involvement… other than outstanding tour guide when in the US and his involvement since. Also interesting was that this committee is recommending¬†LEP changes to allow a large development on Elizabeth St (George to Bigge, aka as the Peter Warren site) I know it’s normal for committees to make recommendations but this seems to carry more ‘weight’ than that of other committees… again the issue of community engagement is a concern.

A note to all concerned… the blatant sale of community land is appalling, while I understand the costs involved in upkeep and¬†¬†the NSW government’s direction to make and allow more properties for multi¬†tenancy¬†developments and the subsequent huge growth in both height and occupancy, why the hell are we selling any of our parks and open spaces, block sizes are getting smaller and smaller, roads more crowded and with community space a premium we should not be divesting our open spaces. Once they are sold and developed they are gone for ever and one of the things Liverpool has always had going for it was our large and lush green spaces. SO PLEASE STOP IT!

Finally, I read in the minutes of one of the committees that Tanya O’Brien is leaving Liverpool council (Friday 19th), damn there goes another dedicated and passionate member of our staff. Tanya if you read this I am so sorry to hear you’ve left, even sadder ¬†I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye and thankyou. I (& I’m sure many others) wish you well and much success in whatever you turn your hand to. The irony is that I heard through another council that many of our staff are leaving and one must wonder why so many and wish them well as they no doubt enhance the councils (etc) they move to.

Thats it for now, Council meets on the 24th, I’ll be there so please come up and say hello. The Police Person of the year dinner is Tuesday¬†the 30th I will be there cheering on our men and women in blue (I hope my vote helps one nominee ūüôā )

Don’t forget I welcome your responses and comments, those who read this won’t always agree with me¬†or my opinions, so the¬†more views the better.

 

Sign off