Monday, 22 September 2008

Great Green thanks to all the Green voters and supporters

The most heartfelt thanks to all the Greens supporters and voters who have delivered an amazing outcome for Lake Macquarie. We now have two highly capable, articulate and confident Councillors to represent the green aspirations for the City.

It's a momentous outcome for Lake Macquarie and the Greens, two Councillors to represent the community unencumbered by developer donations, fully aware of grassroots democracy, open government and transparency and committed wholeheartedly to representing the community and adapting to climate change.

Now there will be Greens around the table to counter the oft quoted "we're saving ratepayers the expense of going to the Land Environment Court" as another offensive development gets the go ahead. There'll be Councillors who are committed to tackling climate change at the local level, who can see a future beyond coal and who are committed to ensuring there is a future for our city.

As the climate clock ticks on, time for action will become an imperative, local actions driven by local councils are a way to push the issues up through the political landscape to make sure the changes we are wanting actually happen.

A Lake Macquarie Greens reference group will be established within the next week or so to provide a vehicle for community concerns to be presented to the Councillors and to start putting Greens perspectives forward.

What an exciting term this will be!

Greens Breakthrough in Lake Macquarie!!!

The Greens now have a place at the table on Lake Macquarie Council with, Hannah Gissane, North Ward, and Phillipa Parsons, East Ward, being elected.

The youth voice will finally be heard through 19 year old Hannah, and The Greens will be providing some great female role models with Phillipa Parson’s on board as well. The gender balance on the new Council has five females in the traditionally male dominated arena

“As a young Councillor I’ll be able to voice the concerns and issues that are often sidelined by Council” Hannah Gissane said

“As a Greens Councillor I’ll be pushing Council to deliberate over decisions and value principles over pragmatism”

“Getting back to the grassroots is really important in mitigating the effects of climate change, we need to localise our actions, climate change and globalisiation aren’t compatible”

“It’s an amazing opportunity to serve the people and the environment in Lake Macquarie, the Greens vision is for Lake Macquarie to be a leader and innovator in moving away from dirty coal in a just transition to a renewable energy industry” Phillipa Parson said

“I want to empower the community to deal with local issues, not tokenism, real consultation in decision making and community involvement in the development process”

The Greens will also be looking to establish a Local Group in Lake Macquarie now there are local Councillors.

West Ward Candidate, Suzanne Pritchard was unelected by 900 votes, having increased the Greens vote in West Ward from 6.9% in 2004 to 12.4% this election

“It’s a tremendously exciting time for the Greens in Lake Macquarie, there’s going to be a lot to do and I’m looking forward to being able to support our Councillors represent the community and seriously tackle climate change” said Suzanne Pritchard

Monday, 15 September 2008

Greens to break through Lake Macquarie barrier

Lake Macquarie Council could get two or three Greens on Council with a favourable preference flow as a result of Saturday’s election.

“The results so far are looking very promising for the North Ward candidate Hannah Gisanne, and East Ward candidate Phillipa Parsons and a bit iffy for West Ward ”said Suzanne Pritchard-Mayoral and West Ward candidate

“It’s going to be an exciting and dynamic Council with Green councillors on board and several youthful replacements to the outgoing councillors.”

“The youth voice will finally be heard through 19 year old Hannah, and we’ll be providing some great female role models with Phillipa Parson’s on board as well. The gender balance on the new Council could have five or six females and this is such a leap forward in the traditionally male dominated arena.”

The Greens will also be looking to establish a Local Group in Lake Macquarie now there are local Councillors.

“It’s a tremendously exciting time for the Greens in Lake Macquarie, there’s going to be a lot to do and I’m looking forward to being able to support our Councillors represent the community and seriously tackle climate change” said Suzanne Pritchard

The Greens’ analysis of Saturday’s Lake Macquarie Council election is that the new council will comprise 2 Labor councillors, 4 Lakes Alliance, Barry Johnson (North Ward Independent), 1-2 Liberal, and 2-3 Greens, plus the Mayor, Greg Piper.

The make up of councillors elected to the new council is likely to be:

Likely Lake Macquarie Council Composition (2008)
Greens 2-3
Lakes Alliance 4
Independent (Barry Johnson) 1
Labor 2
Liberal 1-2

Likely Results
Mayor: Greg Piper

West Ward Suzanne Pritchard is unlikely to be elected
The four seats will likely go to Labor, Lakes Alliance (2 seats) and Liberal
Greens increased 2004 vote of 6.9% to 13.0%.

North Ward Hannah Gissane is quite likely to be elected
The other three seats are likely to go to Labor, Lakes Alliance and Barry Johnston (ind)
Greens 2004 vote decreased from 15.1% to 12.5%.

East Ward Phillipa Parsons is quite likely to be elected.
The other three seats will go to Labor, Lakes Alliance and Liberal.
Greens increased 2004 vote of 12.4% to 13.4%.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Greens release local election funding sources

The website has been updated recently to reveal where the election funding for the 2004 Council election has come from, it makes for very interesting reading.

Lake Macquarie Council candidates had the dubious honour of coming in 5th largest amount of donations received at $204,712, just behind Wollongong with $278,591. Newcastle ranked 7th $186,769.

The Greens election funding for Lake Macquarie came from federal election funding returns, and from local grassroots fundraising events such as quiz nights, raffles, barbecues, a whale-watch cruise, etc, and donations by local individuals (mostly members).You can see the details at Clr Michaels Osborne's site, Newcastle Lord Mayoral and Ward 1 candidate

If you would like to see how the other candidates funded their campaign it’s well worth a look.

Previous council election funding returns show that the campaigns of some so-called local Independents were actually funded by vested interests, including donations from corporations such as Hardie Holdings and Rosecorp.For some reason this doesn't appear newsworthy in the Newcastle-Lake Macquarie media.

The Greens don’t accept donations from developers, corporations or any other organisations. Voters can see that no one is buying us, and we have nothing to hide about where our money comes from.

People a Plenty at Prepoll

Prepoll is in full swing at the moment with over a thousand people passing through the Lake Macquarie prepoll booth at Warners Bay today.

It was a great opportunity to meet a lot of locals in a very short amount of time. The general feeling of the candidates that have done this sort of thing before was that 'they've never seen anything like it!'.

The general chat from the voters was that there had been so little media coverage of the local election that they had already well and truly planned their weekend and voting wasn't factored in to it.

The queue was out the door several times during the day and the afterwork rush saw the line well and truly into the carpark.

Prepoll is open from 8.00 am-5pm for the rest of the week and till 6pm on Friday, if you're like a lot of the folk out there and won't be able to get to the polling booth on Saturday, prepolling is an option at 4/305 Hillsborough Rd, next to Lakeview Blinds.

Return Planning Powers back to the people

Local governments should be given back their planning powers was the view of Greens MLC Lee Rhiannon and Ms Pritchard, Lake Macquarie Mayoral and West Ward candidate.

Discussions with Morisset Park District Action Group members, opposing the Trinity Point Development were held at picturesque Bardens Bay today and support given from The Greens that the proposed Trinity Point Marina development should not proceed in its present form.

"Now that Mr Sartor has been sacked as Planning Minister this project should be taken off the list of state significant projects, which come under the Minister. It should instead be put before the new council when it is elected next Saturday. Ms Rhiannon said

"If Premier Nathan Rees wants to distance himself from dubious practices of his predecessors he would remove this donation tainted project from the Part 3A list and allow the new Lake Macquarie Council to make the decision.

"The Premier needs to be aware that the backers of this over-sized marina are major funders of the Labor Party. His clean skin reputation will not last long if does not send this project back to the local council.

" The Johnson Property group donated $334,181 to the Labor Government from 2002-2007 and $111,300 to the Liberal party.

"The new council should be allowed to make the decision on the future of this project. The new councillors represent the voice of the community and this is where the final decision should be made," Ms Pritchard said.

"This marina project could become a white elephant in a climate changing world”

"The 300-berth mega-marina would take up a large part of Bardens Bay destroying much of the aquatic environment, local fish nurseries and the local lifestyle.”

"The marina would be the largest in the State and it dwarfs Circular Quay in it size. There is nothing like it locally and it does not belong in a local backwater that receives minimal tidal exchange and is at the wrong end of the Lake for tourists and the facilities they need"

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Renewable Cities

Tonight I listened to an inspiring speaker, Prof Steffen Lehmann who presented some research and ideas on the cities of the future, not too distant future that is.

He spoke of the urgency to change the way building and cities are designed to accommodate climate change and the increase in urbanisation. He was effusive in the need for fast efficient public transport that reduced the need for cars, and connected homes to workplaces.

Prof Lehman spoke of the urgency to develop renewable energy efficiencies and distributed power. ‘Solar is beautiful and Green is Cool’ provided the foundation for reduced operating costs in building design. So much of a buildings cost is in energy usage to maintain the internal environment, he believes that the smart buildings of the future will be energy generating! If this is the case then environmental efficiency makes economic sense, this can further encourage investment in the construction industry to lead by design and reduce greenhouse emissions at all points in the process.

Prof Lehman spoke of the need for urban scale fixes, rethinking of city design, green-spaces and accessibility. The potential, expertise and technology is available to create a renewable City, reduce car dependency, compact the city, recycle existing buildings and create urban farming through community gardens

All of these strategies have been identified in Greens policies and are areas where local government can be making a major difference to addressing climate change and positioning the City to generate jobs, support community and survive in a greenhouse world.