Monday, January 31, 2011

Approval of Calderwood must be annulled


Tuesday February 1, 2011
- State election candidates for the Greens and the Socialist Alliance today issued a joint call for the annulment of the Calderwood development approval, that was granted by the NSW government under Part 3A last month.

Greens candidate for Shellharbour, Peter Moran stated:

"The Calderwood development is an environmental and planning disaster in the making.

"It is apparent that Planning Minister Tony Kelly has learnt nothing from the experience of Queensland families who built their homes and futures on flood plains. The filling of a flood plain can be expected to increase the incidence of flooding in Albion Park, as well as increasing runoff into Lake Illawarra.

"Every one of the 200,000 semi trailer loads of fill travelling down the main street of Albion Park will be a reminder to residents of just how inappropriate this development is.

"To lose prime agricultural land for the sake of increasing a developers profits is a crime against the future.

"This approval flies in the face of the Governments Illawarra Regional Strategy and the government's own studies which show this area has enough developed, serviced and approved land releases to serve our needs for the next 6 years, by which time the West Dapto release will be going full steam ahead.

The ratepayers of Shellharbour will be required to subsidize this development to the tune of $2 million per annum according to Shellharbour Council. This will be an albatross hanging around the neck of the Shellharbour community.

Part 3A of the EP and A Act allows politicians to foist these unsustainable developments on communities all across the state. Shame on the ALP and the coalition, who both voted for it.

Jess Moore, Socialist Alliance candidate for the NSW Legislative Council, added:

"Rarely do we see such widespread opposition to a single development. The ALP has once again used Part 3A to run roughshod over our community.

"Developer profits have been put ahead of community need.

"Parts of this land are seriously flood prone. The idiocy of developing floodplains speaks for itself. But worse still is that plans to fill in and develop the floodplains will also increase the risk of floods impacting homes in surrounding areas.

"Calderwood is too far from adequate supporting infrastructure. The cost to the local community to service it will be immense.

"The land involved in this development is of high conservation value. It is also among the highest grade
agricultural land in the Illawarra. It shouldn't even be considered for housing. The community needs to decide what parts should be simply conserved and what parts should be used for food production.

"It's been identified that this absurd development is not even needed for the supply of housing in the Illawarra.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Make ALL public transport frequent & free


Monday January 31, 2011 - Local state election candidates for the Socialist Alliance have welcomed the news that passenger numbers on the free CBD shuttle bus are increasing. They have repeated calls to expand the shuttle service to other areas in NSW and to make all public transport frequent and free.

Paola Harvey, Socialist Alliance candidate for Keira, said: 'The news that nearly 5 million passengers have used the free shuttle service really vindicates our position that if you make public transport frequent and free, people will make the switch.

'The CBD shuttle initiative has been a wonderful departure from Labor's decades long neglect of our public transport system, particularly our rail.

'Dramatically improving public transport would give people the option of leaving the car at home. It's a socially just response to the chronic problems of traffic congestion, lack of parking and lack of mobility faced by poorer sections of the community. It would also reduce greenhouse-gas emissions from the transport sector, which contribute roughly 14% of Australia's total emissions', Harvey said.

Jess Moore, long-time public transport campaigner and Socialist Alliance candidate for the Legislative Council, said: 'We campaigned for frequent and free public transport during the 2007 NSW election campaign. Given the social and environmental benefits of public transport use, all public transport in NSW should be made frequent and free.

'In the Begian city of Hasselt, within a year of introducing free and frequent public transport, patronage increased by 870%. And their government found they saved money overall, given subsequent savings on health, road maintenance and construction, and also on ticketing.

'We stand for publicly owned public transport, not public handouts to private companies. The current Wollongong CBD shuttle service is publicly funded but privately run. This reduces the number of public sector jobs, and needlessly complicates planning, especially across an entire state.

'Any income generated from the public transport system should immediately be directed back into the system, not into private pockets,' Moore concluded.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Coalition is no alternative in NSW


Tuesday January 25, 2011
- Paola Harvey, Socialist Alliance candidate for Keira, has stated the Coalition is no alternative for the people of NSW. Her comments come in the wake of Coalition plans to cut $3.8 billion of state spending.

‘It’s clear the Coalition offers no alternative to the Labor party. If anything, Barry O’Farrell’s plans will make things worse for the people of NSW. The announcement of their plans to massively cut public sector jobs and services shows this.

‘The Coalition has said very little so far, but people deserve to know what they actually stand for. O’Farrell is hoping to romp it in, not based on support for his policies, but because people are so fed up with Labor.

‘But remember last time they were in government we saw the privatisation of the State Bank of NSW. In opposition the Coalition voted for the introduction of Part 3A, legislation that has been used to run rough-shod over local communities. Also, this is the same party of John Howard and WorkChoices.

‘Socialist Alliance is trying to build a pro-people alternative to both the Labor and Coalition parties. We stand for community need not corporate greed. We're committed to reversing privatisation, to putting the community in control of services and to investing in socially useful jobs and training. Anything less is no alternative for the people of NSW’, Harvey concluded.

Shame on Hills! Gillard should guarantee jobs!


Tuesday January 24, 2011 - Socialist Alliance has condemned the decision by Orrcon., local steel pipe and tube manufacturer, to sack 16 of its Unanderra workers. Orrcon, owned by the Hills Holdings group, received $486,500 worth of government assistance in 2007.

Patrick Harrison (pictured left), Socialist Alliance candidate for the NSW Legislative Council, said: ‘Shame on Hills. This is how they treat their workers in a region that constantly battles with unemployment. It’s heartless and unacceptable. And the fact that they’ve just increased some of their directors' pay by $250,000 is just a cruel slap in the face.

‘The federal government is approaching this in the wrong way. In 2007 Orrcon received $486,500 in federal funds to employ 14 people, but then sacked 27 people six months later. Now another 16 have been given the flick. Why are they allowed to get away with this? Who is the Labor Party governing on behalf of?

‘Julia Gillard should demand that Orrcon opens its books to workers and the community, to really see if they can’t afford to save these jobs. If this demand is refused Orrcon should be placed in public ownership and the jobs guaranteed by the government. Given the public handouts and our crippling unemployment, this is more than fair enough.

‘We need governments state and federal willing to challenge the corporate elite; governments who make decisions in the interests of people and the planet, not profit’, Harrison concluded.

Harrison is a young worker in Wollongong and a member of the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA).

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Land use for human need not corporate profits!


Friday January 21, 2011 - Paola Harvey, Socialist Alliance candidate for Keira, has responded to yesterday's revelation that the Coalition let the mining industry write parts of its regional land use policy.

'In the lead up to the election Barry O'Farrell has tried to label himself a friend of democracy and the environment. Revelations that parts of the Coalition's regional land use policy has been written by the mining industry show that neither is the case', she said.

'Under Labor we saw legislation changed to allow petroleum and gas exploration in state conservation and drinking water catchment areas, the introduction of Part 3A, and an enormous expansion of mining, including Coal Seam Gas. The fact that 70% of NSW is now under mineral and petroleum title or application is testament to this.

'It is clear that both Labor and Liberal are hell bent on the further expansion of mining. And this is regardless of community need, health, water or environmental concerns.

'It begs many questions: What is O'Farrell going to replace Part 3A with? Is the promise to protect Dharawal just a token gesture to expand mining elsewhere?

'The lack of government regulation has been a strong criticism in the campaign against Coal Seam Gas mining. Yet now we hear that the Coalition's stance is to make an unacceptable situation worse: removing commitments to toughen regulatory compliance. An immediate moratorium on CSG is needed.

'We need community wide discussions to determine land use, not secret deals with corporate polluters.

'The short term profits of mining companies cannot be put ahead of the reality that humans need food, clean water and air.

'Sustainability also means jobs. We need to create jobs in alternative and necessary industries -- such as wind and solar power -- to ensure a safe environment,' Harvey concluded.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Power privatisation is ripping us off!


Thursday January 20, 2011 - Paola Harvey, Socialist Alliance candidate for Keira, has promised to never support privatisation of the electricity industry. Today she challenged all candidates to declare the same.

'Electricity must be kept in public hands, not sold off to private interests' , said Harvey. 'Every day brings new revelations about how the government has repeatedly lied to us about the terms of and the so called “benefits” of privatisation. The figures - showing that the sell-off will only net a profit of $400 million - are pitiful compared to the benefits of keeping electricity in public hands.

'$400 million will go no where near covering the costs of increasing electricity prices, unreliability of service, job losses and the damaging environmental impacts that are almost certain to follow from placing electricity in private hands.

'The foolishness of the deal can be seen in the fact that the public will have to pay for development of a highly contentious coal-mine, where the profits will flow to private business. In every single way this deal is a dud for the people of New South Wales.

'We are being ill-served by the Liberal opposition and the mass media who spoke out only against the terms of the sell-off but not against privatisation of public assets on principle. A privately owned power industry, like in Victoria, will push up prices, cut jobs, neglect maintenance and will make it harder to make the transition to clean energy sources.

'A publicly owned electricity industry can and should be run for the public good, whilst a privately owned industry will put profits above and beyond everything else. Privatisation should be rejected full stop and this is what I pledge to argue for in the elections', concluded Harvey.

No new gas at Tallawarra! Renewables now!


Thursday January 20, 2011
- Paola Harvey, Socialist Alliance candidate for Keira, has called on the NSW government to reverse its January 14 approval for a second gas-fired power station at Tallawarra. Harvey stands for the phasing out of coal and gas-fired power generation and immediate investment in a baseload solar-thermal power station.

'This decision is suicidal in the context of global warming. Australia's power generation is the single biggest cause of greenhouse gas emissions. It's urgent we begin the phase out of all fossil fuel based power generation and start the transition to baseload, renewable energy', she said.

'The recent tragic floods highlight the need to act now. While climate change isn't the sole cause of these events, there's undeniable scientific evidence that it is increasing their devastating effects. It's clear that the cost of continuing our reliance on fossil fuels will far outweigh the cost of phasing them out and replacing them with renewable, non-polluting alternatives'.

'The Tallawarra approval is also completely unnecessary to meet our future power needs. With serious implementation of energy saving and demand management, there would be no need for increased electricity generation capacity in NSW. But Liberal and Labor have no interest in this, they are totally tied to the interests of the big polluters.

'I'm standing to put people and the planet ahead of profit. The people of NSW need the Tallawarra approval to be reversed. Instead, the government needs to draw up plans for immediate investment in a baseload, solar-thermal power station, so the phase out of coal and gas-powered generation can start today', Harvey concluded.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Gellatly complicit in theft of public assets!

Wednesday January 19, 2011

MEDIA RELEASE - Socialist Alliance candidate for Keira, Paola Harvey, has condemned Wollongong Council administrator Col Gellatly for his role in the privatisation of NSW electricity assets. She has called for the sacking of the administrators and a return to democracy for Wollongong.

'The case for council elections in Wollongong was clear long before the latest revelations, but they have confirmed what has long been suspected. The administrators aren't serving the people of Wollongong but rather are doing the bidding of the state government', said Harvey.

'While Col Gellatly is an Administrator, at the same time he is chairman of the government's Electricity Reform Taskforce, a job he is being paid $540,000 for. This “reform taskforce” was basically assigned to find a way to privatise the electricity industry as quickly as possible. But when 8 directors of Delta Electricity and Eraring Energy resigned, NSW Treasurer Roozendahl appointed Gellatly to the board and directed him to push through the sale'.

'This is a conflict of interest, as many have have pointed out. More importantly, Gellatly is not only denying the democratic will of the people of Wollongong as an administrator, he is denying the democratic will of the people of NSW, who remain overwhelmingly opposed to privatisation of the electricity industry'.

Socialist Alliance will be using the state election to campaign for fresh elections for Wollongong Council and for reversing the privatisation of electricity.

'Gellatly and the administrators are responsible for many decisions that are already increasing the cost of living for Wollongong citizens; parking meters for example. But Gellatly's role in privatisation is much worse. It will lead to higher electricity prices for all households — something the people of Wollongong cannot afford. Maybe Gellatly himself, who in addition to his $540,000, earns $85,280 for being administrator, should be footing the bill for families that can't afford the extra expenses his actions will cause?

'But we must remember that responsibility for the privatisation remains primarliy with the NSW Labor Party. The people of Wollongong are being ill-served by local MP's who have supported privatisation every step of the way. The only way to ensure that public assets will no longer be sold is to reject the politics of both Labor and Liberal parties and vote for parties committed to keeping public assets in public hands', Harvey concluded.