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Save Our Sydney Suburbs (NSW) Inc.
News Release October 2004

The Will of the People

Hi SOS Members

DEMOCRACY

As we go to exercise our democratic right tomorrow one cannot help considering instances where democracy falls down.

The Sydney Weekly Courier reports on a recent survey by the Trilogy group that found that 88% of the Sydney residents interviewed are against multi-storey projects. Yet the Department of Planning, Infrastructure and Natural Resources (DIPNR) continues to force this type of development onto our communities. DIPNR cannot even quote overall community benefit to justify its policies, as SOS has proved over and over again. But the process goes on:

1. Four guest speakers spoke at our recently held AGM - Barry Hadaway from Ryde, Gordon Hocking from Sutherland, Janine Kitson from Ku-ring-gai and Councillor Monica Wangmann from Ashfield. It was plain from what they told us that Department of Planning, Infrastructure and Natural Resources (DIPNR) is never satisfied - it continually demands yet more increases in density. A report on what they had to say, published on the Sydney Weekly Courier, is here.

2. At a recent Property Council meeting (a body organised by developers), Jennifer Westacott, head of DIPNR said that the government must act quickly to implement changes before local lobby groups can act. "We've got to pool the assets and not allow them to get picked off one by one and make decisions quickly" she is quoted as saying.

3. After having kept Save Our Suburbs out from the first two SydneyMetroStrategy meetings, DIPNR has announced that Sydney residents will be selected at random from the voters roll to discuss the Metropolitan Strategy proposals. Community groups will be excluded until later in the process. Without prior exposure to a complex subject such as planning, randomly selected members of the public can be easily influenced by skilled presenters to produce any outcome DIPNR desires. Those with long memories will recall that in 1999 we witnessed such manipulation at the then DUAP forums when the subject was "Plan making in NSW".

What will the final outcome of all this be? Will it be in favour of the community or in favour of those making the largest political donations?

ROCKDALE COUNCIL

Those who view Stateline on ABC TV will have seen that Rockdale Council is again involved in controversy - this time over a plan to demolish a 100 year old Bexley house in an historic street to make way for a modern mansion. Residents believe that this action will affect the heritage of the whole street and be a precedent for future demolitions. Council staff efforts to save the heritage home met strong opposition from the combined major party councillor coalition. The Daily Telegraph reports that the council voted for the development to go ahead at a meeting punctuated by insults and shouts from the public gallery. Councillor Lesa de Leau said she was shamed "at the way the process was rammed through".

Tony Recsei
President
Save Our Suburbs (SOS)


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