Polly watch
January 13, 2014
Richard for 2011

Illustration by Michael MucciWhat did our local representatives achieve last year? ... Turnbull, Greenwich and Moore ... 2013's political year in review for 2011 ... Alix Piatek reports 

IT was a tumultuous year for our federal, state and local pollies.  

Premier O’Farrell managed to shoot himself in the big toe by scheming to get a Liberal into the seat of Sydney. 

The Get-Clover-Out-Of-Parliament legislation saw the election to her former state seat of Alex Greenwich, the independent candidate nominated and backed by the Lord Mayor of Sydney. 

Greenwich is now just as entrenched in the electorate as Clover ever was. 

Brilliant Barry. 

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TWO of the priority issues for Wentworth voters are high speed internet - the NBN - and  marriage equality. 

On both local member Malcolm Turnbull had an awkward straddle. 

Turnbull supports same-sex marriage, but voted against the legislation in the House of Representatives in 2012. 

For Turnbull, it was more important to stay on the Liberal frontbench rather than cross Tony Abbott's picket-line. 

The Greens are again preparing to put a private member's Bill in favour of same-sex marriage, which should come before parliament early this year. 

If Abbott, once more, does not allow his MPs a free vote, Turnbull again will oppose the legislation he says he supports in principle. 

At least he is consistent in his principal concern to stay in the Cabinet rather than stick-up for his principles. 

From Alan Moir http://moir.com.au
The Coalition’s NBN policy has turned into a shambles. 

In the week before parliament adjourned for the year it was announced that the broadband project will not be completed by 2016 and will come in at $12 billion more than Turnbull predicted prior to the election. 

Anyone who recognises the importance of this massive national infrastructure project says, it is vital to do it once and do it properly. Fibre connections into 90 percent of the homes that are reachable, is the way to do it if Australia is to have an effective high-tech economy. 

Originally the Coalition opposed the NBN in any shape or form. After seeing that it was electorally popular it grudgingly adopted the idea, but it had to be different to the model proposed by Labor. 

Hence, the second or third best option that was allegedly cheaper - fibre to street corners into thumping great, ugly, metal boxes, then copper the rest of the way. 

The NBN review has since found that the state of the copper wires, which Turnbull as Communications Minister plans to buy from Telstra, will leave the government with an annual maintenance bill of $1 billion. 

The review also revealed that only 26 percent of the entire project will be fibre-to-the-home technology. 

The Coalition now estimates that the NBN will reach all Australian households by 2020 using a mix of technologies, including fibre-to-the-node and hybrid fibre coaxial, a fusion of optical fibre and coaxial cable. 

Some in the Wentworth electorate are not pleased. A delegation visited Turnbull’s electoral office to present a petition with over 270,000 signatures requesting the Coalition adopt the fibre-to-the-premises plan. 

The usually talkative Turnbull was not available to receive the petition or make a comment on it. 

You can sign the petition here.   

Turnbull has also gone of quite a journey on the carbon pricing front. He has repudiated an emissions trading scheme, which he supported as Opposition Leader. 

Now he is a proponent of what is known as the "direct action" plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions by five percent. 

Basically the scheme requires the government to pay companies to reduce carbon omissions. 

It's shortcomings are outlined here.  

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ALEX Greenwich had a busy first full year in state politics, giving special emphasis to the shortage of inner city schools. 

Some headway was made with the Department of Education and Communities agreeing to build a new primary school for 1,000 kiddies in the Ultimo area. 

This year, Greenwich aims to increase the number of child care facilities and press his campaign for a new inner city public high school

However, his Anti-Discrimintation Amendment (Private Educational Authorities) Bill was put on the back burner.  

The legislation sought to make it unlawful for private schools to discriminate on grounds of race, sex, marital or domestic status, homosexuality, transgender or disability. 

He had hoped for a conscience vote this year, but withdrew the Bill in late November after the NSW government said change could be achieved through administrative measures. 

The Board of Studies released a public policy against discrimination and encouraged schools to provide safe and inclusive environments for all children and staff. 

Greenwich also pressed for changes to strata laws, in particular more pet-friendly policies for strata plan apartments. 

The default by-law allows pets to remain with permission and landlords cannot refuse a request unless there are "reasonable grounds" for a refusal. 

Greenwich also joined the campaign to limit the Minister for Local Government’s power to intervene with local councils under proposed new planning laws, and next year he promises to oppose any proposals for forced council amalgamations

State Parliament voted on a same-sex marriage Bill, which was narrowly defeated 21:19 in the lower house. 

Greenwich is hopeful that marriage equality is not far off. 

Security measures in the Kings Cross area will continue to be examined with the local member proposing a parliamentary select committee into alcohol-fuelled violence in the area.  

Greenwich supports the introduction of ID scanners in Kings Cross, but says the proposed hours of operation failed to address the times when violence is more likely to occur. 

He says he will continue to push for "longer transport hours, evidence based approaches ... not just band-aid solutions". 

Here's his year-in-review video ... 


*   *   *

THE City of Sydney has generated contention in the local area with at least two schemes: the children's playground at Fitzroy Gardens and road closures for Darlinghurst and Bayswater Roads. 

The Fitzroy Gardens upgrade and kiddies play zone are well underway and should be completed quite soon. 

It was one of the most vehemently opposed works undertaken by the council. 

Some of the salvos can be discovered here and here.  

The council's position is here.  

The proposed road closures with pedestrians taking over more of the Cross seem to have widespread support, with positive noises from the Roads Minister Duncan Gay, the local liquor man Doug Grand, and NSW pubs boss Paul Nicolaou.  

Fewer cars is a great thing, as long as they are not replaced by more drunks. 

Throughout the year the council has been caught up in the negotiations over the Kings Cross plan of management for pubs and clubs.  

However, the cat got out of the bag years ago when 24-hour licences were granted to a number of giant booze halls. 

Now the industry is fighting tooth and claw to hold back the pressure for early closing in the wake of alcohol-related killings in the Cross. In fact, some of the biggest pubs are pressing for extended trials of late trading

Fitzroy Gardens revampMore bike tracks is a particular mission of Lord Mayor Clover Moore and the state government has now come on board with the completion of the inner city network. 

Sadly for local cyclists no new pathways are on the drawing boards for the Cross, Potts Point or The Loo. 

There is the Bourke Street cycleway, which can take peddlers from Cowper Wharf Road up to William Street, then along College Street and into the CBD. 

You can see details of the incredible boom in Sydney cycling here.  

It should not be forgotten that Llankelly Place is looking a lot happier with new lights and cafés, in large part due to the work of the City of Sydney.  

However, the weighty political battles in 2013 were the council's campaigns against the O'Farrell government's developer-friendly, fast-track, planning laws, which effectively sidelined community consultation, and the recommendations from the Independent Local Government Review Panel in favour of council amalgamations. 

The planning legislation was rejected in the upper house in November and has now been withdrawn and presumably has to be redrafted so that it can pass muster with the Shooters & Fishers. 
The recommended scheme for council amalgamations seems to be going nowhere fast. The idea was the creation of 15 super councils in Sydney, serving up to 800,000 residents. 

Randwick, Waverley, Woollahra and Botany Bay councils would merge with the the City of Sydney. Leichhardt and Marrickville might be included as well. 

This could be another elaborate plan to "Get Clover", but the Minister for Local Government Don Page, despite sitting on the reports for months, wants more time for consideration and consultation.  

Memories linger of the electoral backlash against the Kennett government in Victoria, which brutally forced council amalgamations - reducing the number of councils from 210 to 78 along with the sacking of 1,600 elected councillors, who were replaced with handpicked commissioners, many of of whom were Coalition cronies. 

Here's Clover Moore's wrap of 2013

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WE should not forget the work of the Potts Point Partnership, the district's leading business lobby. 

The PPP nominated Llankelly Place as the focus of much of its work in 2013. 

The City of Sydney has approved an outdoor dining pilot initiative, which started last month and runs till December 2014. This will allow businesses to have additional outdoor seating and more flexibility in their ratios. 

The PPP also received a grant for a public art project in Llankelly Place. This will be done in February this year and Louise Shepherd, the partnership coordinator, says it will further add to the ambiance of the laneway. 

In April the Partnership launched its new website, with the aim promoting local businesses, events and to share news.

The PPP held five key networking and educational opportunities over the year. Guest speakers included Alex Greenwich MP and Yasmin King, the NSW Business Commissioner. 

That's enough looking backwards for now. 

Article originally appeared on Local news from postcode 2011 (http://postcode2011.com.au/).
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