Alex's Update Issue 246
Tuesday 12 December 2017
Equality Wins, Cockle Bay Wharf, Bank St Marina, Gambling Grows and New South Head Road Safety
Federal Parliament passed the bill to provide marriage equality last week, voting down hostile amendments again and again. Federal MPs have now finally done what the community has supported and Australia is a better place for this reform. See my articles on Junkee: http://junkee.com/thank-you-australia/138309 and The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/dec/08/we-did-this-together-today-we-celebrate-a-resounding-victory-for-love.
Thank you everyone who has helped achieve this step forward.
Cockle Bay Wharf
The revised Cockle Bay Wharf redevelopment remains intrusive and completely inappropriate. The community has repeatedly opposed high rise towers against the public foreshore, yet that is what is being proposed again – along with overshadowing and wind as well as view impacts on the promenade and heritage Pyrmont Bridge. The tower height is being reduced by only 40 metres to 195 metres.
The 150 car parking spaces remain excessive, especially in this already congested part of the city that has bus, train, and ferry services. While new open space is welcome, it could be delivered with a less intrusive proposal.
The state government has failed to establish a strategic plan for this part of Darling Harbour to ensure good planning principles are applied so that only light, low rise buildings are permitted on the waterfront. High rise proposals are now rampant and planners continue to assess them on an ad hoc basis; meanwhile Darling Harbour’s human scale is being eroded for private gain. The government should act as custodian of the harbour and protect it from overdevelopment otherwise future generations will wonder what we were thinking when all these monstrosities were approved.
My submission will again oppose overdevelopment. Comment due 15 December: http://majorprojects.planning.nsw.gov.au/index.pl?action=view_job&job_id=7684
Bank Street Marina
I will make a submission to the revised proposed Bank Street charter boat facility, which has had significant community opposition. The department says there are tighter controls on boat movements, noise and rubbish disposal, and that shipping containers won’t be double stacked. A floating pontoon is proposed instead of a fixed wharf. Additional public open space has been included and it is claimed that dragon boats won’t be impacted. The original proposal was highly destructive but while changes seem to represent an improvement, a backend facility for charter boats is not what was promised or what is best for this prime harbour land. It is important that you make another submission to ensure the department does not assume you support the development as a result of the changes.
You have until 15 December to comment: www.majorprojects.planning.nsw.gov.au/index.pl?action=view_job&job_id=8338
The latest report on gambling in Australia shows sports betting is growing fastest, by 15 percent to $920 million losses last year, but poker machines remain the biggest segment with $12.07 billion lost nationally. NSW is the worst, with a 6.2 percent increase to a record $6.1 billion lost on poker machines. In response to my previous questions in Parliament, the Minister for Racing said that the Responsible Gambling Fund had been expanded and new education campaigns initiated, but we need stronger gambling restrictions: https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/la/papers/pages/qanda-tracking-details.aspx?pk=232794
Shocking allegations were made about illegal poker machine fixing in the Victorian casino – beyond the previous claims about machines designed to addict users. In response to my questions about this occurring in NSW, the minister says that the Liquor & Gaming NSW hasn’t had complaints but is monitoring the Victorian investigations: https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/la/papers/pages/qanda-tracking-details.aspx?pk=237432
There’s a national campaign for poker machine reform http://www.pokiesplayyou.org.au/
New South Head Road Safety
Following two tragic deaths of bike riders on New South Head Road, I’ve asked the Minister for Roads, Maritime and Ports for action to improve safety on this commuting route: https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/la/papers/pages/qanda-tracking-details.aspx?pk=237714.
Bike riders have contacted me about the lack of enforcement of the 1 metre separation rule, which should mean motorists give cyclists space on the road. There’s an online petition with more than 1,700 signatures calling for safety improvements: https://www.change.org/p/gabrielle-upton-mp-create-a-separate-bike-lane-on-new-south-head-road.