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Alex is committed to government transparency and accountability; protecting the natural and urban environments, open space and Sydney’s unique heritage; retaining inner city social and affordable housing; the humane treatment of animals; improving transport options; and fairness and equality for the LGBTI communities.
 

Alex's Update Issue 193

2 November 2016

Short Term Rentals, Casino Violence Under-Reported, Macquarie East Precinct, Community Housing, Resilient Citytalk and Seniors With Computers

SHORT TERM RENTALS

The parliamentary committee inquiry into short term letting recently released recommendations to allow short term letting in residential homes and I am concerned that the recommendations do not provide the right balance of restrictions to prevent impacts. Owners corporations should be able to ban short term letting in a building or impose conditions and no apartment should be dedicated entirely to visitor accommodation. I have asked to meet with the Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation about these matters ahead of a government response.

CASINO VIOLENCE UNDER-REPORTED

The ABC reported leaked documents revealing over two thirds of assaults at the Star Casino were not reported to police, skewing crime statistics and hiding disturbing trends of alcohol associated violence. The figures correspond with reports of displacement from the lockouts by Pyrmont residents. This again calls into question the special class of exemption the government gave to the casino – with the opposition’s support – compared to other city venues. Exemptions from the 1.30 am lockout should be about improving the city’s culture and apply to live music and performance venues, small bars of 120 patrons and well managed venues. See the report HERE

MACQUARIE EAST PRECINCT

The NSW Government is proposing major changes to the eastern side of Macquarie Street with a new strategic framework. Key changes would improve pedestrian access between buildings, upgrade underused street space, and provide adaptive re-use, a new public plaza for the Registrar-General’s building (Land and Property Information office) and new venue space on top of the State Library. 

You can do the online survey, offer your own suggestions or attend the drop-in sessions in the State Library Macquarie Room Thursday 3 November 12-2pm or 5-7pm, or Saturday 5 November 11am-1pm. Details: www.property.nsw.gov.au/MSEP

Thankfully media reports say that the Premier rejected the Greater Sydney Commission Chief Commissioner Lucy Turnbull’s suggestion that the NSW Parliament could be moved to Parramatta.

COMMUNITY HOUSING

The government will transfer 18,000 public housing tenancies outside the inner city to community housing providers through a new system of concurrent leases that allow tenants to keep the same conditions and rights including a fixed term lease. While other factors like landlord management policies and approaches can impact a tenant’s experience of their home, there is high tenant satisfaction with community housing providers and I supported the bill.

In response to my concerns that a new state register could allow for-profit housing providers, the minister said the register will be restricted to community organisations and aims to include Aboriginal land councils excluded from the national register. My speech is HERE

RESILIENT CITYTALK

Michael Berkowitz of 100 Resilient Cities, Lord Mayor Clover Moore and other experts will talk about how cities need to address extreme weather, infrastructure failure, housing affordability, cultural intolerance and inequality. This next CityTalk is on Tuesday 8 November 6-8pm at the Lower Sydney Town Hall. Talk is free but bookings essential, book HERE.

SENIORS WITH COMPUTERS

The Australian Seniors and Computer Clubs Association (ASCCA) helps older people take advantage of information technology - computers, mobile phones, webcams, iPads and emerging technologies. I supported a Community Building Partnership grant for ASCCA to buy a big screen teaching aid in 2014.

ASCCA runs classes at its Learning Centre at 280 Pitt St Sydney and has a national conference on 8 and 9 November: www.ascca.org.au