18 March 2013
Earth Hour, East Sydney Artists, Company Title Reform, Local Government Under Threat
Don’t forget to switch your lights off this Saturday for Earth Hour, a now global event that began in Sydney in 2007. This year I’m an ambassador and participants are being encouraged to pledge to permanently switch to green power. For information click HERE.
On Saturday I was honoured to open the "Flourish" exhibit at the Palm House in the Botanic Gardens. A truly creative city makes art available to everyone, and has affordable and accessible spaces. We have to make clever use of the spaces and opportunities that already exist, like the Palm House. East Sydney Artist Wendy Littlewood (pictured) has been organising this annual exhibition over the last decade.
In Parliament I supported new laws for local courts to resolve Company Title disputes, title that predates strata and allow owners to live in an apartment building in which they have shares. Previously owners had to go to the Supreme Court, even over minor matters like keeping a pet or painting a wall. The cost and length discouraged owners from pursuing their rights. In debate I called for a review to determine if company title remains a fair means to home ownership, given disputes about the rights under company title and some residents want buildings transferred to strata title. My speech is HERE.
Under pending legislation the Local Government Minister will have sweeping discretionary powers to direct or sack councils, based on undefined “underperformance”. Party partisan state governments will have new tools to harass councils that don’t toe the line, like not rezoning land for developers, refusing DAs due to community impacts or opposing CSG fracking. The bill makes councils accountable to the Minister, not only residents and rate payers, making them another arm of the government of the day.
Councils are democratically elected and interference from other levels of government should be a last resort if there is serious and proven dysfunction. Currently alleged problematic councils can’t be sacked without a public open inquiry, preventing interference for political reasons.
If you share my concern about the NSW Government’s Early Intervention Bill, please ask the Minister to withdraw or defer it for public consultation, his email is firstname.lastname@example.org .
Have a great week
Alex Greenwich MP
Independent Member for Sydney
PS. Join the Furry Friday Rescue Challenge 6pm Friday 22 March, a treasure hunt through the CBD supporting Sydney bars and of course the Animal Welfare League. Sign up HERE