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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 265

Thursday 24 May 2018

Short Term Letting, Redress Scheme, Disability Advocacy, Stadium Inquiry, Testing Pills and St Vincent’s Hospital

SHORT TERM LETTING

The community message that short term letting must be properly regulated is reaching government members, with a retreat from a reported policy that would have allowed homes to be let out to visitors for half a year with no rights for apartment buildings to set their own rules. Cities like New York, Paris and Berlin have had to introduce very strict regimes after short term lets started to squeeze residents out of their communities and the laissez-faire approach in Tasmania is causing a housing affordability crisis. Recent research  shows how short term letting impacts higher cost and tourist areas most, with longer term renters being pushed out: HERE

Vested interests are pushing against fair regulation so we must keep it up. Sign my petition for apartment communities to make their own decisions: HERE and for limits on short term letting: HERE

REDRESS SCHEME

In Parliament, I supported a government bill to help survivors of institutionalised child sex abuse get redress. Many survivors have serious and far-reaching impacts from their abuse including on their physical and mental health, and on their ability to form positive relationships and gain employment. Survivors will be able to apply for up to $150,000 in compensation, counselling and psychological support, and a personal response from the responsible institution. All institutions should opt in to this voluntary scheme to help survivors heal.

During debate I called for inclusion of survivors who are in jail where their childhood experiences contributed to incarceration. I pointed out that while the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse in Institutionalised Care was hearing more allegations associated with religious institutions than any other institution, some churches were running a campaign against LGBTI people.

I congratulate the many survivors who campaigned hard to get the royal commission and the redress scheme and hope it will help many get their lives back together and make Australia a safer place for children. My speech: HERE

DISABILITY ADVOCACY

Disability support will completely transfer to the NDIS on 1 July and many people are having trouble getting into the system or establishing appropriate plans. State-based services will be abolished, even those not covered by the NDIS, and I am concerned some people will fall through the cracks. I supported the campaign to keep independent advocacy services that were set to be cut and while the NSW Government responded by extending advocacy funding for another two years, ongoing services are vital. People with disability will always need representation so that barriers to care are broken and the system continues to become more inclusive. Independent advocacy funding is also being cut if an organisation gets an NDIS grant for an unrelated service.

In Parliament, I spoke against changes that will only burden state resources from more people ending up in crisis accommodation or prison for example – two institutions that already have higher representations of people with disability. My speech: HERE

STADIUM INQUIRY

The Legislative Council’s Committee is holding an Inquiry into the government’s stadiums policy, including costings and criteria, and impacts on the community. Make a submission today: HERE

TESTING PILLS

The pill testing trial at the Groovin’ the Moo music festival in Canberra demonstrated that there are ways to keep people who use drugs safer. Eighty five substances were tested with two highly toxic chemicals found, and five people binned their drugs in the tent with another 10 to 20 percent reporting that they were considering binning theirs.

The ‘war on drugs’ has left otherwise law abiding citizens with convictions, stigmatised drug users, discouraged problem users from getting help and supported organised crime, all while failing to decrease the demand for mind altering substances. We need

to adopt evidence-based policies that keep people safe and I have given notice of a motion to discuss the success of the pill testing trial in the Legislative Assembly: HERE

ST VINCENT’S HOSPITAL

Following reports about budget problems at St Vincent’s Hospital, I asked the Minister for Health to ensure adequate funding. He says there was a three percent increase in funding, but with more services expected despite the increasing costs of services. My questions: HERE