Alex's Update Issue 257

Monday 19 March 2018

High Schools, Gambling Impacts, Sydney Marine Park, White Bay Tunnel Vision, Time2Choose and Earth Hour, Palm Sunday Rally for Refugees, & Ride2School

HIGH SCHOOLS

Responding to my question in Parliament, the Minister for Education discussed the challenges with finding land for a school in the east, however he stopped short of committing to finding a site, referring instead to new capacity at Alexandria and Cleveland Street schools as solutions. I welcome his acknowledgement of the CLOSEast campaign, which is continuing to show the need. I worked with the group to get the Cleveland Street high school and will continue to support the campaign for a school in the east. My question is HERE and follow up questions HERE.

The Department of Planning has approved the Cleveland Street high school. There will be a 13 storey building for 1,200 students: HERE.  

GAMBLING IMPACTS

New South Wales has over 94,000 electronic gaming machines and up to 75 per cent of the money going into these machines comes from moderate risk and problem gamblers. This has led to disastrous social costs including financial ruin, homelessness and broken families. Yet both sides of politics remain set on ensuring pubs and clubs can keep running mini casinos. Last week the government introduced some minor improvements to make it harder for gaming machines to move into ‘high risk’ areas while also helping clubs to transfer machines to other clubs without forfeiting their entitlement.

I opposed the bill but the major parties supported it, with members praising the work clubs do in the community with a small fraction of their massive poker machine profits. My speech is HERE.

SYDNEY MARINE PARK

The need to protect Sydney’s waters through a marine park is a no-brainer. Sydney’s marine environment boasts unique biodiversity and a marine park would boost tourism. Numerous government studies have recommended a multiple-use marine park with sanctuary zones between Wollongong and Newcastle, but government action has stalled. I regularly ask questions in Parliament calling for a Sydney Marine Park and recently submitted more: HERE. It seems we need a loud community cry for a marine park before we get an outcome so I’ve created a petition. Please sign it so we can finally get things moving: HERE.

WHITE BAY TUNNEL VISION

An article in The Sydney Morning Herald based on leaked reports shows White Bay will become the main construction site for the Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link. Dredged contaminated sediment will be stored on site and huge concrete tubes built. Read article HERE.

Despite years of consultation and planning for The Bays Precinct, this is the first that local communities have heard of these plans. I am concerned about massive truck movements, 24 hour operations, noise, air and water pollution. The White Bay casting yard would need large areas to dry out the dredged material and a sunken dry dock to float huge tunnel tubes into the harbour. This is yet another ad hoc proposal – a master plan for The Bays Precinct is needed before further development is approved. In Parliament, I asked the Premier to clarify plans for the Bays Precinct: HERE. I’ll work with affected residents to call for details to be made public and to get protections for residential amenity.

RIDE2SCHOOL DAY

National Ride to School Day is Friday 23 March, including an event at Bourke Street Public School where a huge number of students ride using the Bourke Street cycleway. Details HERE.

TIME2CHOOSE AND EARTH HOUR

Don’t forget the massive rally 12 noon on 24 March at NSW Parliament calling for urgent action to protect land and water, communities and cultural heritage. Information HERE.

Saturday 8.30pm is when the lights go out for the annual Earth Hour event to draw attention to climate change and call for urgent action: earthhour.org.au.

PALM SUNDAY RALLY FOR REFUGEES

The Palm Sunday Rally for Refugees is on Sunday 25 March Belmore Park 2-4pm with a march to Victoria Park. Information HERE