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


Hugely Informal

August 23, 2010

With a 13.2% informal vote the question needs to be asked…was it apathy; was it misinformation, was it a political statement or not enough education? In an election when every single vote counted, do you wish you’d made a different choice?

Firstly can I say a huge thank you for your votes and to our small army of volunteers, who worked tirelessly on Saturday to make the Greens known to voter’s. You are amazing and thank you simply isn’t enough.

Our result saw a higher percentage of people voting Green in Fowler than in the past however even more people across the state (including Liverpool & Fairfield) voted to have our very own Lee Rhiannon elected as a NSW Senator.

Those of you who read my posts will know that Lee is a strong advocate for us out here in South Western Sydney, she has worked alongside us in trying to get  noise walls for the Casula residents and she’s a strong voice for us now in the federal arena.

We have an exciting couple of days perhaps weeks ahead of us, if you have a view re my opening question  respond here…. if you want to comment but not have me post it simply start with NFP (not for publication) and I’ll accept your comment but not repost it….


The Friendly Trip

November 3, 2009

Our councillor’s sojourn to Tamworth seems to have had a positive Signe Westerberg Headshots (38 of 102)effect… from a testy unpleasant previous meeting to all laughs and smiles at last night’s meeting. Perhaps this is the part where they start working together for the betterment of the area…

A fairly light agenda proved to be a long (and not so unpleasant) event as the councillors listened to the Auditor’s report on Council finances. Even the Price Waterhouse Coopers speaker acknowledged his frankness could come in light of our already signing off on their services for another 12 months.  Council finances are in pretty reasonable shape, we’ve lost a little but with the grants etc over the last year we’ve come out of it ok (not fantastic but ok). Sadly the auditor did suggest we continue to receive rates increases bah Humbug…  I do get frustrated at many councillors still aren’t reading the material provided but alas one assured me that ‘they ask the questions they feel the public would ask” mind you we aren’t idiots and some of their questions are –  well…. ordinary.

There has been a small win for the residents of Casula as an additional condition has been added to the work being done by the ARTC for noise wall installation, however in light of today’s news that ARTC is pulling the pin on the project I’m not 100% sure if we will ever see the benefit of this win.

Another small win is the installation of Information boards and leaflet stands in the rural post offices, all going well this should allow the residents of the rural areas at least an over view of matters in Liverpool and provision to make comments and participate in programs etc

Gallery numbers were down last night, we’ve been getting pretty good attendance but whether or not it is that items are still being dealt with in closed session or the ‘excitement’ of the new council has waned. There are still a number of matters we don’t hear a response on… we are still unaware of the results from the closed session/ action where the Mayor hushed/differed discussion on her less than attractive outburst to councillor McGoldrick. I’ve asked individual councillors to have questions without notice answers be included in the minutes and this is beginning to happen…thank you.  Just a note, the questions without notice should be when a Councillor is representing the community on issues they feel need to be discussed in Council or require additional information. Not necessarily questions pertaining to pot holes and garbage pickups, they, like us …  can use the online service for potholes etc or hand them on to the GM for action by the appropriate department.

Can I urge all the readers of this column to watch out for a couple of items soon to be on display for public comment:

1) already on display – the proposed sale of public land needs your comments, if you think a particular piece of land should be sold, or used for a public park, this is your opportunity to comment and voice an opinion.

 2) Chipping Norton Residents’ need to comment on the Bankstown Air traffic changes that WILL affect them.

3)All residents need to review the proposed CBD parking strategy and make comment, I’ve been involved (as your rep) in these and suggest if you feel ½ hr parking in Macquarie & George isn’t enough or have other suggestions this is the time to let Council know… (I can’t imagine what you can do 1/2hr and would prefer this to be 1hr parking) There is a detailed report available and is well worth your time to read and make comment.


To many things to wait

October 26, 2009

Signe Westerberg Headshots (96 of 102)What a terrific meeting on Saturday, first I caught up with a like minded local who was willing to sit and spend time with me discussing a couple of important issues in Wattlegrove and Moorebank thanks Valerie, then on to the Green’s meeting where again I had the privilege to sit amongst like minded locals and discuss matters important to the whole Liverpool Area. A special thanks to DB for her contribution to our meeting with Lee Rhiannon. It is important to realise that so much of what happens while not costing much still incurs a fee…rest assured we aren’t frivolous and acknowledge the work done by so few for so many.  

Last Thursday I had the honour of attending the GRCCC (Georges River Combined Councils Committee)meeting at Wollondilly, I am as you probably know the Community Rep on the UGRUSP (we met Friday afternoon, more soon) and we had three speakers and wow it was interesting.

1st one of the Authors of Rivers of Resilience, this book has recently been released and speaks of the Aboriginal community who live (and lived) along the Georges River, I just can’t wait to get my head into that book as it mentions so much of  my life (albeit I’m not aboriginal) but the settlements and lives of people who moved here from the likes of Redfern and Riverwood… all the way back to when the first fleeters settled in the areas between here and Sydney cove… there is also a display on right now in the Liverpool Library…up on the top floor and although only a quick look inspires me to return when I have a little more time.

The second speaker spoke of the wonderful works being done along the river at Bankstown…if you take a drive to Lake Gillawarna… and see the 3 D house on the corner of Newbridge Rd and Henry Lawson Drive…then take a walk along the pathways all the way up to the Barnaby’s site and see the amazing artworks placed there and the stories involved…well worth your time… I was at the Launch a couple of months back and am still impressed…

Thirdly – A couple who spoke at great detail about the proposed mining lease BHP Billiton has on the banks of the Georges river in Appin. Scary!!!

Friday I attended as the community rep for the Upper Georges River Urban Sustainability Project… we meet regularly and have been working diligently on things that can be done to improve access and the health of the Georges River, from Appin where it begins to here in Liverpool. Recently a local said to me that he’d not heard anything since the initial community meeting and when I reminded my colleagues that our work was not necessarily being seen by the local communities a decision was made to have brief prepared and circulated to the community through the local papers. Keep your eyes peeled for this I’m sure you’ll be impressed with the things that have started and will soon start on and around our beautiful river.  Also please take a few minutes to check out the website we’ve been involved in www.georgesriver.org.au  this website  is a joint project between the UGRUSP & GRCCC and the two other Projects (Mid & Lower Georges) along this wonderful water way.

Once you’ve done that and appreciate the beauty of this wonderful asset…search out the BHP Billiton development at Appin and see the proposed 30year lease they have on the catchment area and the long term impacts this development will have on the Georges River…. a 30 year lease..In my opinion it is outrageous!


Where to begin….

September 16, 2009

Signe Westerberg Headshots (96 of 102)Where do I begin, we have a Mayor who thought leaving a nasty message on a councillors voice mail was private, Der !  We have a councillor who has actively worked against the Powerhouse now on the management committee and the Labor councillors have been pretty much unsuccessful on nearly all other committees.  That was the council meeting! Rubber stamping is still rife and debate was limited. I put forward some ideas with regard to the selling off of public property, and asked that the councillors vehemently pursue the noise barriers at Casula, and have had two councillors support my ideas. (Address to Liverpool City Council meeting 14.9.09) The Labor faction is infighting and then Councillor Gillani questioned the tactics used to have him ousted from the WSROC committee. Lordy these people need help they are systematically destroying themselves. If they would only put that effort into supporting the community!

The Eastern forum was as always informative, I now know how to lay a cricket pitch and why council has so few…and Simon Fox from council spoke about the Graffiti policy and invited submissions… so if you would like to comment on how Council handles, supports, eliminates graffiti this is your opportunity.

This week it was also brought to my attention that the idea of writing a submission was a little daunting to many people… I have attached an idea of what a submission can look like, for me it is simply a letter to say whether I support a particular idea or not. Suggested Submission outline

There is lots happening here in Liverpool but if you have the time on Tuesday 29th September come along and support the residents of Casula and Wattlegrove to: The Liverpool Community Centre 14b Mill Rd Liverpool at 7pm. MLC Lee Rhiannon will be there to discuss future development and Parliamentary involvement in attempting to get what’s right done for the people of Liverpool.

Plus submissions are still needed for the New Road at Casula, the Parking station at Warwick farm and now the Graffiti policy for LCC – time to write those letters is running out, call me if  I  can assist or email me at swesterberg@lso.com.au


The year in review

September 10, 2009

Well it’s now been one full year give or take a few days, Signe Westerberg (78 of 102)we have a council elected by the people for the people…well perhaps not so much for the people… Here is a quick rundown of what I see has and hasn’t happened… sadly there is more of the hasn’t than has. Listed in no particular order and is by no means complete, if you feel you can add, please do so by commenting . As always I value your input be it positive and or negative.

What the Councillors Have made HAPPEN…whether we liked it or not…

  • They Have increased rates– promised & promoted to be 12.5% that actually amounted to between 17% -30% for most residents.
  • They have – made sure they got the top pay scale available.
  • They Have – continued the infighting amongst themselves at council meetings, factions and fractions formed early and have continued to the present day.
  • They Have – attended Council meetings: In fairness council meetings have had pretty good attendance… one councillor through a death in the family was absent, another was ill and another it was pointed out perhaps forgot to set the alarm. All in all except for these three occasions they have attended scheduled council meetings, although not privy to briefings it’s been said to me that attendance here is not so well represented.
  • They Have – encouraged the increase the number of apprentices hired by Liverpool City Council.
  • The Have – secured Collingwood House and its surrounds for the future.
  • They Have – managed to take 3 junkets on our behalf… 7 members attended the Broken Hill State conference and The Mayor & Gary Lucas attended the Canberra summit while now another 7 are preparing for the Tamworth State conference. Although strictly conveyed as development and training, I’m still unsure why we need such a large contingent at these events. These I might add are the publicly advised events; I cannot say if there have been others for which we pay for our councillors to attend. We won’t know this until the budget indicates councillor expenses.
  • The Mayor has – appeared to be pretty busy; she has managed to acknowledge plenty of functions she has attended although whether or not she has managed to fit in her full time job as well is unknown to me.

What Councillors didn’t’ do:

  • They Haven’t – had too much activity amongst the community by councillors – nonexistent with perhaps exception of vote promoting support to smaller core groups
  • They Haven’t – facilitated transparency – way too much is done behind closed doors, comments by councillors in previous posts confirm this.
  • They Haven’t – Debated issues in Council, on way too many occasions the councillors have simply rubber stamped ideas – very little active debate was done in chambers.
  • They Haven’t – Worked within the community amongst the community to raise the profile of issues important to the residents. E.g. proposed container terminal, South Sydney Freight lines, M5, bus services to the western region etc
  • They Haven’t – supported many of the community functions i.e. National tree day (NO one attended at all)
  • They certainly Haven’t – Promoted Liverpool as a destination of note, or for that matter promote Liverpool at all.
  • They Haven’t – Cleaned up our city – highly promoted in election campaigns as our most urgent need.
  • They Haven’t – Created  pride in our community again high on the list during the campaign
  • They Haven’t – Fixed parking – can you see a pattern forming?
  • They Haven’t – Improved infrastructure, maintenance and appearance of the LGA
  • They Haven’t – Eradicated Graffiti – although it has been the number one talking point for the whole year
  • They Haven’t – Fixed our Gateways – although I know work is due to start…but we are a year in.
  • They Haven’t – Managed to have to Noise walls installed for the Casula residents along the rail or the m5 or at Warwick Farm.
  • They Haven’t – Supported the Local residents at Hoxton Park and Austral in relation to the proposed schools… with the  exception of Cllrs: Gary Lucas, Peter Harle, Nadia Napolitano & Tony Hadchiti  who did fight for the locals in relation to Hoxton Park albeit a little late in the process they did have a reasonable shot at it. These 4 in fairness have in some small way at least started to represent the community; however there are 11 in total…
  • They Haven’t – responded to the LAKES group who wrote to all councillors for support, last I heard only 1 replied, this councillor after all had managed to make upset many amongst the H/Park group and was looking to raise his image. Little to naught has received his attention since. I have now heard that some representation has been made by another councillor, although extent and details are unknown at this stage.
  • They Haven’t – Attended community meetings/forums with the exception of (on occasion) Cllrs: Peter Harle, Gary Lucas and (more rarely) Tony Hadchiti.
  • They Haven’t attended committee meetings on way too many occasions although  they  fought to be included in many of the council committees… for example one councillor stood for one committee in particular that has now had 5 meetings, he managed to attend only once for an hour.  Others made comments at council meetings questioning committee decisions only to have it pointed out that if they had actually attended the meeting they were in line to make decisions and that they had not bothered to attend.
  • They haven’t –commenced work on Pioneer Park although money is in the bank waiting
  • They haven’t – got a good reputation from the community for answering emails and letters.
  • The Mayor hasn’t brought this team together; they are no closer to working as a team than they were the day before the election. Perhaps not entirely her fault but none the less disappointing.

Summary

So far I have to say that without exception these guys have cost us more than they have done, any infrastructure and maintenance that has been achieved could have also been done without councillors at all, the General manager and staff have in most cases prepared the relevant info for rubber stamping by the councillors. Our most successful initiative was perhaps the Garbage system rollout, a huge success by recognised standards was done by council staff not councillors. Several programmes have been supported but not initiated by councillors except the obsession with graffiti, and again this is in the planning stages nothing has actually happened. Those wheels of progress do turn ever so slowly don’t they?

To say I am disappointed in the achievements (or lack thereof) of the councillors because as I see it they have done little to nothing to improve Liverpool, they have cost us (big time) they support very little and they achieve even less. I don’t want to hear that they are new, we are a year in, and I won’t say that they haven’t done anything at all, I can only comment  on what is public and so far there isn’t anything much that can be said.  The two councillors (apart from the mayor) who manage to get comments out and about being Councillors Lucas and Harle seem to have attended some public forums (and recently Cllr Hadchiti has rocked up to a couple), they have attempted to have their views heard and in councillor Lucas’s case he’s the councillor who has pre empted nearly every important issue by releasing it to the local papers long before it was a council decision or while still in discussion phase. Things like the rate increase, proposed parking metres, parking initiatives etc. You only have to look back through Champion & Leader papers to prove this.

Could I have done any better?  – who knows, I guess that’s a question people can ask at the next election but surely we can expect a lot more in the coming years, after all we have these councillors for another 3 years. 

Just in closing, so I am clear, I strongly support council having councillors, pro active, passionate and active councillors. I would prefer to have been able to report on the many fantastic achievements and improvements to our Liverpool alas, all I can say is I’ve kept my word, I promised to keep an eye out whether elected or not. There are still many things to achieve here in our fair city and as part of a number of committees and groups I’ll continue to do the best I can and in the mean time I will keep you informed, I will continue to submit ideas, I will complain and I will recognise good work.

So for now, it’s been a year, we need to move forward, refocus and hopefully bounce some positiveness and passion into those councillors who appear to have done nothing but suck up fresh air in the last year and cost us money. As I said above this list is not complete, if you feel you can add, please do so by commenting.  As always I value your input be it positive and or negative.


National Tree Day

August 3, 2009

Congrats to council staff for a terrific morning on Sunday, whilst I’mSigne Westerberg HeadshotsFAV  (78 of 102) not sure of the number of attendees the lack of Councillors in attendance was obvious. Was it perhaps this is not an election year? Was it that they need our 9% but to work alongside us on such a valuable community project was not in their job description or was it as I’ve said so oft before, that the majority of them show no need to come up close to the average Liverpudlian?  To the Lions club for cooking up a fabulous Sausage sizzle and the reptile guys who kept the children (& some not so small) entertained, thank you!!  What a lovely area to work in, as with many of you, I don’t get to visit all the fabulous sites around Liverpool as often as I’d like but the amount of work that has gone into Lighthorse Park is commendable. (Not bad for an old Tip)  I understand the environmental group who works this area is keen to assist the Parks Dept with the monument site and give it a cleanup, thank you for what you do, it’s these valuable volunteers in Liverpool that assist so much, such a shame the councillors didn’t see fit to drop by and dig in….