Alex's Update Issue 270
Monday 25 June 2018
NSW Budget, Letting Law, Horses vs Parks, Powerhouse Exposed, Westconnex Inquiry, Rainbow Crossing Returns, Outstanding Stories & Pipe Dreams
Disappointingly, there was nothing ground-breaking in this week’s 2018-2019 NSW Budget to address the serious challenges of climate change and affordable housing. The government allocated $729 million to knock down and rebuild Allianz Stadium, which continues to attract criticism particularly in the context of the budget. Planning for the ‘Creative Industries Precinct’, which will replace the Powerhouse Museum in Ultimo will get $5 million. The destruction of this important arts and science institution is a disgrace and while I will continue to oppose the move, I will also work to get the best outcome for the site.
In the Sydney Electorate there is funding for arts, culture and public space through the Sydney Modern project, Australian Museum redevelopment, Walsh Bay redevelopment, Pyrmont Bridge Restoration and upgrades in The Rocks, Darling Harbour and Campbell’s Cove. I will assess figures more closely in the coming weeks.
The Legislative Assembly passed my amendment to ensure that the government’s short term letting bill provides for a registration system to enforce laws and collect data. Without a register, it will be impossible to monitor compliance with the planned 180 day limit that if passed would require a change of use or to confirm impacts on affordable housing.
While the bill also included a new right for owners’ corporations to ban commercial short term letting in their building, it expressly prohibits by-laws that limit short term letting when a lot is the host’s principal place. The government’s response fails to address the new and complex challenges of short term letting and excludes measures to deal with basic issues like insurance and fire safety.
HORSES VS PARKS
I did not support new laws to give the wild horses in the snowy mountains heritage status. The brumbies are causing significant damage to alpine and subalpine regions, putting threatened species at risk, and their numbers are growing. Culling of introduced species can be very cruel but the answer is not to legislate making a particular species special. What we need is a ban on cruel culling like aerial shooting and 1080 poisoning with investment in humane population control measures so that introduced species don’t expand unchecked and we can protect declining biodiversity.
My speech: HERE.
The Legislative Council Public Accounts Committee will look into the way that Westconnex has been set up and funded to expose the secret arrangements – and prevent some of the worst impacts. Submissions close 31 August: HERE.
The Powerhouse Museum Alliance has published the material that the government was forced to table on the business case for demolishing the Powerhouse and moving some of the collection to western Sydney. You can read the proposals HERE.
RAINBOW CROSSING RETURNS
I welcome Lord Mayor Clover Moore’s proposed rainbow crossing at the southern end of Taylor Square, replacing the 2013 one on Oxford Street that the government removed. This will be a strong visual reminder and celebration of 40 years of successful LGBTIQ rights campaigns.
During Pride Week I was proud to again launch the Outstanding LGBTQIA+ Short Story competition for 2018, with contributions on the theme ‘The Next Big Thing’. Send in your stories: HERE.
Friday 29 June 7pm at the Verona Cinema Paddington you can catch the film ‘Pipe Dreams Fractured Lives’, with the farmer-filmmaker David Smith in a Q&A after the film to speak about what’s he’s learned about the ‘unconventional gas industry’: HERE.