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Save Our Sydney Suburbs (NSW) Inc.
News Release August 2003

Electricity Costs and Lamborghinis

Energy Australia is proposing to impose a "congestion surcharge" on suburbs that now use more power than previously. This is to pay for reticulation upgrades, probably adding 25% to our household bills. The electricity network of suburbs originally designed for low density can no longer cope with the high densities imposed on communities. State Government claims that high density saves infrastructure costs are once again shown to be false.

Our sewers are also being overloaded by the higher density of people and have less reserve capacity, indicated during the rains in May which caused human effluent to pour into Sydney Harbour and Botany Bay. Chatswood with its huge increase in density has to have its sewage system urgently upgraded at a cost of $12 million. Who pays for this – you and I, not the developers.

But look at the other side of the coin. An article in the Sydney Morning Herald 21 July 03 states "If you see a brand new Ferrari scooting around the streets the chances are you will find a young property developer behind the wheel." The article quotes the Ferrari Sydney sales manager and the managing director of Lamborghini stating that many purchasers of these $600,000 plus cars are property developers.

SOS has documentation to show that property developers make huge profits from high density. From these profits they make large donations to the political parties.

This encourages politicians to allow planning laws that favour developers at the expense of the general community. The developers then make more profits. They subsequently make more donations to the political parties. And so the cycle goes on.

Further, urban consolidation is being imposed with relative ease by the State Government because of the lack of political strength of resident opposition . The developer lobby is well financed, well connected to politicians, employs expert lobbyists to 'guide' governments in appropriate legislation to 'remove obstacles’ to development and has finely focussed self-interest.

On the other hand, those who suffer the impact of urban consolidation (and the weakening of rules governing resident participation in decision-making) tend to have no formal organisation, lack lobbying skills and have no access to finance. In addition, those most heavily impacted by urban consolidation frequently move to another area to avoid the unequal struggle.

It was only after Save Our Suburbs formed a political party that the politicians started to take some notice of us. Results include:

A year ago all this seemed most improbable.

The Election

The final count of the Upper House State Election result shows Save Our Suburbs getting 18,000 votes. While credible for a party that had been in existence for such a short time, this was insufficient to win a seat. We simply had too little time and resources to reach the mainstream voter -- he/she has not yet heard of us.

Most residents wrongly blame the results of bad planning onto Councils, not realising that the perpetrators are in fact in State Parliament. State parliamentarians are more influenced by developer donations than the well-being of the community.

The Department of Planning (the State Government Planning Department) very effectively hides behind Councils and the Land and Environment Court while forcing these bodies to do its dirty work. Residents do not appreciate that increasing stifling traffic congestion, escalating infrastructure costs, pollution of waterways and inadequate education, hospital and police services are the result of Department of Planning’s shocking planning policies. These afflictions result from forcing high density without adequate infrastructure onto unwilling communities.

SOS policies could rectify the situation. They provide for balanced development throughout the state. Have a look at our comprehensive policies on www.sos.org.au.

We shall continue the fight. There is still much to be done in raising awareness in the broader population of the need for appropriate long-term planning by the State Government.

 

Tony Recsei
President
Save Our Suburbs (SOS)


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