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


Corrections, observations, blatant joy and more:

May 21, 2014

Signe Westerberg Headshots FAV (26 of 102)I have had a little time since the last post, clearly I expected to be able to bring you good news about the return to appropriate in relation to the Mayoral Minutes, but sadly our self serving majority chose not to return policy to the Mayoral Minutes and our #powermadmayor and his cohorts decided to ‘note the report’ and do nothing with it. Unfortunately while that is not the outcome I had hoped for or imo appropriate, it should not surprise when only one submission was  received…mine.…and without significant support the return to Mayoral minutes being used as they should be for items of urgency etc  it didn’t happen. While  one should expect our Cllrs would do what is right without having to be ‘encouraged’ by the community,  it’s not like the majority will do the ‘right’ thing without concerted pressure…. we must stand united as a community or we have no voice and that saddens and concerns me.

I am however pleased to report that the companies ‘listening’ to the community at the Building our City programs in the last weeks were actually listening and my rant about the failure to include Liverpool Railway station as a Gateway has been heard and is now I’ve been told, being included as part of the project. As I said at the program, we need to take seriously Train travel as a real alternative with all our roads being already congested especially the M5 and the proposed impacts of the Moorebank intermodal.

The corrections: Wendy Waller was at the Community Cabinet meeting I spoke of previously and like Cllr Harle was unfortunately not recognised by Melanie Gibbons who BTW has been pre-selected as the Liberal candidate for  Holsworthy (her second choice when she wasn’t unsuccessful in pre-selection for Miranda) at the next state election. (as was reported in a recent article).
Also Cllr Harle was an apology at the Bringelly event on Building our City and I failed to acknowledge that.

The Market night seems to have been embraced by some, reports back say that around 1500 people braved the cold night and took to the streets. Feedback has been that there could have been more stalls, more variety and more care on food handling but those I’ve spoken to have given it a thumbs up for the entertainment and the ambiance – good to see that while I couldn’t spend more than a few minutes observing, a few actually did embrace the event and are actually looking forward to the next.  This is a 12 month trial and I do hope that if we’re spending hard earned rates that many do get out and enjoy these events and they become more than a promotional tool for the #powermadmayor. My hope is to spend more time at the next one in June.

Two questions… the local police attend the community action group meeting, I have a question for you…what kind of information would you be interested in hearing from the local police? Our hard working officers provide a number of information sessions over the year and while preparing for the next they would like to hear from you, what information you’d be interested in hearing…?

Second question, with the proposed airport at Badgerys Creek, what protections would you like to see in place for our environment and our residents? This one is for me as  I raised the point that we want a seat at the table now…not 6 months from now, not somewhere down the track but right now. I have a few ideas but would love to hear from you, to get your thoughts, hopes and aspirations should the airport actually go ahead. While I am against it I am but one voice and I know there are others out there who disagree, but on protecting our city, its people and our environment, we mostly stand together…share with me your ideas.

Now onto the Joy, any of you who get my tweets know I’m almost daily tweeting #I love ICAC I am truly tempted to get a badge made or a t-shirt saying I Love ICAC… while the 3 word slogan will appeal to some, it’s much more important than that. I love politics, I love what can be achieved when good and decent people work together for the community but sadly in this day and age there is little more than contempt for politicians and to be honest I want all the schemers, crooks and cheats out of politics, regardless of the party. We, the people need to get back to the days when we trusted our politicians to do what was/is right for the people as a whole.  I think a version of ICAC (or ICAC itself) should have purview over all levels of government, from council to the feds. That the dead wood be removed, that short cuts and deal making is only used legitimately to achieve outcomes for the community and that anyone caught doing the wrong thing by those who trusted them enough to be elected are removed from the public purse. BTW ICAC is working its way closer to Liverpool, of course I will post anything as it becomes available, in this (link below) a Liverpool Liberal Councillor is mentioned on page 53 … while no detail of the context is mentioned, I’m sure if there is more we’ll hear about it.

http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCgQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.icac.nsw.gov.au%2Fcomponent%2Fdocman%2Fdoc_download%2F4345-29-04-2014-operation-credo-spicer-transcript-pp-02696-02753-from-1045am-to-1254pm&ei=UitqU4C4F8SkkQX3moHgAg&usg=AFQjCNGPqSKRVO7tYQIaPawpu6NQfvyg7w&bvm=bv.66111022,d.dGI&cad=rja

 

Lastly I’d like to chat about the Liverpool Council budget presently on Public exhibition…. Please, please take a few minutes or so to have a look at what is proposed…remember these are your rates and how the council intends spending them, so it is to your benefit to have a read and a comment. This budget is more than a promotional program for the present majority its a road map of our future spending. Remember what is proposed is a guideline, if enough of the community recommends other ideas or priorities the Councillors are required to listen… and a submission doesn’t have to be an involved tome and a  few lines in an email supporting or not, offering suggestions or locations or simply requesting more detail will suffice. Council officers will gladly answer your questions and provide information as we have been assured at the two community forums they presented to in the last weeks. Hats off to those council staff who presented the program to the community and their answers to the numerous questions asked.

As for the “OTHER” budget high on the list of conversations at present, it deserves a post of its own, however for the moment there is too much negative involved for me to devote a post to the appalling betrayal Australians have been subjected to…most especially those who believed the lies and rhetoric proffered by the present Govt prior to the election. I am especially concerned about the poor, the sick, the unemployed, the disabled, the young, those marginalised by not being the mega rich who will undoubtedly will be the big winners.

Don ‘t forget to nominate a local Police officer in the Police person of the Year, refer my previous post for the nomination form.

The next council meeting is next Wednesday, meeting notes will be posted on the council website Friday afternoon.

That’s if for now, more next week after the council meeting, fingers crossed there is more positive uplifting information to be shared, if you were at the Markets or have information different to mine, please share. More and more people are looking at this page and as many opinions are welcomed.

 

Sign off

 


So much to do so little time

March 19, 2014

Signe Westerberg Headshots (60 of 102)I finally got some time today to finish the submissions for the Code of Meeting ( 19.3.14 Code of Meeting Corrections) and supported the changes for the LLEP affecting our rural residents here There are another couple of items on exhibition page of the LCC website that need some attention, mostly the School of Arts building and I strongly suggest everyone takes a few minutes and comments also. Take a few minutes and log on here:  http://www.liverpool.nsw.gov.au/council/public-exhibition

I have been very fortunate to be quite active in the past few weeks, I have the great pleasure of being part of the Liverpool Transport Task-force, the local 2168 action group, both the council forums for Urban and Western Liverpool, International Women’s day, the Medicare Rally and on the past weekend walking with over 12,000 people to vent my displeasure at what is happening nationally. This is truly inspiring and I have nothing but praise for  dedicated people who not only talk about what could be done, but actually step up to make things happen. Interestingly I never planned to be one who protested, but with so much happening contrary to the needs of the people of this country, I cannot stay home, I can’t expect others to protest alone and I won’t. While ever those rallies are peaceful and fruitful I’ll be standing proudly arguing for better, arguing for what is right for our whole population, not only those select few. Unfortunately with some of the changes on the cards I will no doubt be out and about even more often, raising awareness of the plight not only of our people,  but our fauna, our forests and our reefs all of which are under threat, all of which will be gone if we don’t raise our voices in unity.

20140316_155026 20140316_155029 (2) M in M 1

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M in M 5

Another disgruntled voter

I cannot praise enough the dedication and commitment of local groups like  The Lions club, Rotary, Quota, the Justices, to name a few, and with so many dedicated people, all getting  a little older, all very capable, all keen to work with the younger more vital members of the community, waiting to step up and work along side, I cannot but encourage you to get involved also.  I see the most amazing things happen in our community, I watch the fulfillment and pleasure gained by those who step up and I know that same pleasure awaits others.  These younger more vital individuals bring new skills, new ideas and new directions all of which are necessary for continued growth of all organisations.

Below are some pictures from the Leave Medicare Alone rally, where hundreds of people rallied against this Govts proposed changes to Medicare.

Other things are happening in Liverpool,  this Friday is Harmony Day being celebrated in Bigge Park, 12-3pm, Sorry Day at the regional museum on 26th May 10-2.30, also  your rates dollars are funding a fitness program on a Tuesday in Bigge Park, registration is on line and advertised in this weeks paper and I hear there are some places still available and worth a look. Next Wednesday is the next council meeting with business papers online Friday afternoon. I will let you know more as the information comes to hand.

Until then

Sign off

save medicare rally

save medicare rally 1 save medicare rally 2 save medicare rally 3save medicare rally 5 save medicare rally 7 save medicare rally march


Council meetings… aka majority wins

February 7, 2013

Signe Westerberg Headshots (96 of 102)I attended as I always do the Liverpool council meeting last night… this the first meeting back for the year, another will be held at 6pm on 27th February and then regularly the 4th Wednesday of the month. I know I’m a gluten for punishment but I do attend them all and stay until kicked out for confidential matters… we never hear the result so waiting is not the best use of my time and they do hold them to last.

Last night was somewhat frustrating and I am guessing this is something I am going to have to get used to in a majority council. I can’t say I noticed it in the brief moment Labor held the majority last term but it is definitely at play now.

That aside, I’m a stickler for commitment and when I commit to a committee or forum, I commit, I attend every meeting… as I did for the council CBD committee in the last term, I attended every one of the meetings and left after about an hour on only one occasion when an emergency arose at work… so to say I attend is not only reasonable but assured. I cannot say that any councillor past or present can say the same thing. I can tell you though a number of important issues were discussed, including the Parking in the CBD – with what has to be said a pretty good outcome considering the number of people affected by it, we have discussed issues from Street trees to footpath bricks but one issue I was particularly proud of was our recommendation to Upgrade Bigge Park and to work systematically to improve the whole CBD outlook from there.
The council staff did some amazing work on a design brief for the park and funds were available to commence work quickly, it was put to the public for comment and I was delighted that a solid, committed and council approved work program would commence.
Well it seems the first meeting of the new committee to cover the what was the CBD committee, before community representatives have been elected and now complete with numerous councillors who have no idea of the actions of the previous committee have canned all the work done and money spent to work on Bigge Park to AGAIN look at the whole CBD. BTW looking costs money as it did in the past and will again. Thank you to Cllrs Waller and Stanley, who did attend the past CBD meetings and attempted to stall the change however the new majority flexed its muscle to ignore their comments.
Not only had significant staff time and council funds been invested (btw that means your rates money) in the plan for Bigge Park, it is something that could be done now instead we are going to have to wait again and if it takes another 3 years to finalise plans we will again be in a position WHERE NOTHING IS DONE.
The reality with elections is that there will be change and change isn’t always bad, but if we are going to constantly play politics nothing is ever going to be achieved and in the process considerable RATES dollars are going to be wasted.
Clearly this isn’t’ the only matter decided last night, the procedures for meetings has changed, you will now only have 3 minutes to speak to councillors, as no one (other than I ) objected I can only assume the community either  care less or forgot but what can I say, if it doesn’t matter to the community,  I support that.  As I am not one of the most prevalent speakers it will be noticed when a resident wants to address council and if you live in our outer suburbs you’ll now have to hurry as council meetings will begin at 6pm. The good news is though they will not go past 9.30pm so for those of us who have been staying to the end an early night is and will be appreciated.
One resident spoke of the changes to the Moorebank Voluntary Acquisition program to buy homes in flood prone areas and while he spoke passionately about his issues I couldn’t but agree with his comments about the redevelopment of the very same area approved by council last year. We need some synergy here and I believe the Planning officers of council have that, but the councillors don’t always take their advice. One has to question the credentials of councillors compared to those of trained, educated planning staff and I for one, would not be buying any home built on land approved last year along the river and I certainly hope it doesn’t get added to the acquisitions list in years to come because of commercial interests and lack of forethought. I too have no planning credentials I do however have 53 years of living in Liverpool and a good memory of what happens when it REALLY rains. If I recall correctly Cllr Waller and Cllr Stanley also objected and they to are long time residents.

On a positive note, the nastiness and hateful comments of the past seem to have abated, I guess that’s where the failure to re-elect of one of the past councillors has been a bonus and that now even though they don’t agree they do so without the snide and unpleasantness of the past.

Final note: Council is calling for representatives of the community to express their interest for a number of committees, so please look at the local papers and if you are interested and plan to show up, write and put your name forward, you have until COB on Wednesday the 13th.

Council forums begin again next week Tuesday 6.30pm at Bringelly Hall, I hope to see you there.

Sign off


Do they think we’re dumb?

February 22, 2012

I was asked that question last night…do they think we’re dumb? a)Who is they and b)well I  don’t know…

Now let me explain,  Last night was the new combined Urban Forum, new starting time and a guest speaker. Sal Husain who spoke about growth in the CBD etc which was very interesting and another baptism of fire for him as these experienced residents asked lots of questions, all very interesting and informative in my opinion. I love that the forums provide a venue for residents to learn the workings and programs of the council and it is very often a two way exchange of ideas and history but I digress.

The fact: There were no councillors were in attendance last night, last week Cllr Harle attended and Cllr Hadid arrived for about the last hour to the rural forum… not that big deal really as attendance by councillors over the last 3+ years has been sporadic to nonexistent.  Although I’m aware councillors are struggling over the coming budget (Cllr Hadchiti is particularly concerned so much so  I wish he’d focus on the job and leave his petty  politics out) however Councillors on the whole do not attend forums, community events etc, be it a tree lighting or whatever. The Mayor does of course attend a great number of events when officiating however hasn’t attended any of the forums in the last 4+ years.

Cllr Harle does attend quite a few, Cllr Lucas a couple and the rest pretty much don’t attend at all… that is until election time… which is why I was asked if they thought we were stupid.

It seems once an election is coming close councillors tend to think community interaction is important, so much so there is a likelihood that the August forums will be cancelled in light of the upcoming election on the 8th September…so do they think we are stupid, I can’t really say what our councillors think but I do know one thing, attendees do know who shows up and who doesn’t and the last minute be seen attempts will not go towards a vote.

Liverpudlians are a clever lot; they know the difference between genuine concern and involvement as opposed to ‘oops remember me I’m your councillor’ and  ‘look at me I’m a candidate’.  Thank goodness the community knows the difference.


if I were on Liverpool Council

June 9, 2011

Like many in the community I’m deeply concerned at the direction the O’Farrell government is taking in regards to industrial relations and payment of our Public Servants… especially with the majority employers in Liverpool being Government e.g. Liverpool Hospital.  This far reaching proposal is likely to plummet our community back to the days of strikes and union action. We need to protect our Public Service and in this instance my understanding is it will weave its way into our council staff entitlements also.

I believe our Liberal council will not work against their state colleagues, the Labor minority would probably support me but alas while we aren’t represented by true balance this is but a pipe dream.

My proposed motion would be: (as adopted by Blue Mountains City council)

That Liverpool City council:

1.       Condemns the NSW Government’s proposed legislation to remove public sector workers rights to an independent umpire on wages and conditions, leaving public service wages and conditions solely in the hands of the Minister for Finance;

2.       Calls on the State Member for the Liverpool and Macquarie Fields, MP’s Lynch & McDonald to vote against the legislation on behalf of the public sector workers in the Liverpool LGA

3.       Calls on all Members of the Legislative Council and the Legislative Assembly to vote against the legislation.

 This proposal will have profound impact on families in our city, on the job prospects and direction of our younger people and drive many away from the essential services in this state. At a time when job security is concern enough we should be encouraging people into public service not scaring them away.


Appreciation and dismay

May 18, 2011

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the Western/Rural forum, the residents were out in force as were council staff. As you are no doubt aware, council is presenting the operational and delivery program to the community through forums, however the issues of crematoriums and cemeteries is becoming an enormous issue for many of the residents who contacted the GM to ask this be included on the agenda… Council’s executive staff was there in force to both talk about the Budget and to answer questions from the community regarding the developments.

This is truly an emotive issue for these rural residents who feel they are being lumbered with an inordinate number of cemetery proposals and the clear indication is there is no real policy for this from the State Government, who is spending as much time playing the blame game as they are creating new ways of saying not much. OK in fairness  its early days and there are no doubt some enormous issues, canning  Part 3A was a good start, looking very closely at the JRPP will be another important process but in the mean time what does council do, they cannot ignore development applications, there is no  ‘too hard’ basket?

For the most part this was an orderly, well spoken, articulate and engaging meeting, sadly two issues emerged that saddened me, one in particular.  A resident accused the council staff of being corrupt. I have heard this type of nasty comment in the past and cautioned these same people on the onus of proof before making such pronouncements, especially publically.  The council staff with whom I work and talk seems to me to be an outstanding group of dedicated workers and I take offence at these comments. Obviously when emotions run hot things are said that perhaps shouldn’t but could I ask that unless there is absolute proof (& if there is proof take it directly to ICAC or the police) please watch what you say, disparaging the entire council staff with these unkind statements is extremely hurtful to these same people who work day in and day out to make our city better, cleaner and more appealing for those of us who live, work and play in Liverpool.

On a brighter note, the newly elected member for Mulgoa supplied petitions for the residents to have signed…while she didn’t mention it, but did confirm it, Premier O’Farrell has said that if 10,000 signatures are collected the matter will be debated in Parliament, so I encourage these residents to get those 10,000 signatures asap, remember you don’t have to be a resident to sign the petition you can support the principle of it no matter where you live. If nothing else it would be very interesting to hear what both sides of government have to say about this particular planning issue.