Alex's Update 266
Monday 28 May 2018
Election Funding Caps, Walsh Bay Arts, Light Rail Inquiry, Minerva/Metro Listing, Historic Anti-Gay Violence, BBQ for Reconciliation & Portugal’s Drug Reform
Election Funding Caps
The government needlessly rushed through changes to local government electoral funding without consulting with councils, resulting in an unfair and undemocratic bill.
New council election expenditure caps are so low they would restrict normal campaign activities. They favour incumbents who already have paraphernalia, and are unfair when compared against state election caps or between different sized councils. The entire section on caps is unintelligible and risks being impossible to comply with.
Before opposing the bill, I sought to postpone debate by a month and my independent colleague, Greg Piper, sought to remove all sections on local government elections, but the government blocked our moves. However, conceding that more work is needed, the government agreed to refer local government expenditure caps to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters. My speeches are HERE.
Walsh Bay Arts
Last week the Department of Planning and Environment approved the Walsh Bay Arts Precinct redevelopment to refurbish performance and public spaces. Following concerns from local residents and businesses, a public transport plan will be developed and the outdoor performance space has been scaled back.
Earlier this month I asked the Minister for the Arts to review the final design after learning that the beautiful split level walkway, which provides an internal pedestrian boulevard, will be removed. I hope a solution can be found as it would be a sad legacy of the project if we lost this much loved public space.
Light Rail Inquiry
The Legislative Council Public Accounts Committee has a formal Inquiry into the CBD and South East Light Rail construction impacts on residents and businesses. The Inquiry will consider financial and amenity impacts, compensation, communication about project delays and financial compensation. Details HERE.
I’ve supported the community campaign for listing of the Art Deco Minerva/Metro Theatre in Potts Point, asking the Minister for Heritage to include this building and its façade, principal rooms and original ceilings, cornices, joinery, flooring and fireplaces on the State Heritage Register: HERE.
Historic Anti-Gay Violence
ACON’s ‘In Pursuit of Truth and Justice’ report on nearly three decades of homophobic and transphobic violence late last century calls for an independent investigation, a formal apology, a police taskforce to investigate historical gay hate murders and dedicated counselling service for victims and families. I support the recommendations and will press the government for reform. The ABC report: HERE and the ACON report: HERE.
Release of the NSW Police ‘Parabell’ review of an estimated 88 deaths during that time is reported to be due for release at the end of the year. Assistant Commissioner Tony Crandell has said that police will update the ‘bias motivation’ tool used to identify homophobic and transphobic hate crimes.
We much make sure this shameful pattern of violence and uncaring official response never happens again.
BBQ for Reconciliation
Tenants’ Union of NSW, Community Legal Centres NSW, the National Association of Community Legal Centres and Justice Connect are holding a free BBQ (with vegan options) to show support for the reconciliation process Wednesday 30 May in Prince Alfred Park north. Donations collected will go to the Indigenous Reading Project. RSVP HERE.
Portugal’s Drug Reform
Unharm and Uniting present a public forum with Dr Manuel Cardoso, one of those responsible for the Portuguese drug policy, with Sydney Medically Supervised Injecting Centre Director Dr Marianne Jauncey and former WA Premier Geoff Gallop Tuesday 5 June 6-8.30pm at the St Stephens Uniting Church, 197 Macquarie Street. Tickets HERE.