Many Marrickville residents will have received an email or letter from local MP Carmel Tebbutt offering them the opportunity to participate in her ‘excellent’ online democracy project, asking local residents to vote for community infrastructure projects they think should be funded with $300,000 worth of NSW Government funding.
This project is an attempt by Ms Tebbutt and her cohorts to position herself as an innovative and inclusive politician, making decisions based on ‘democratic online’ voting, but only the most naïve voter wouldn’t see the flaws and astounding cynicism in this proposal.
Far from being a ‘first for Australia’, this online proposal is a cheap attempt to hoodwink residents into thinking they are being heard – tell this to the 850-odd people who wrote and petitioned Ms Tebbutt to intervene to stop the sale of our local Enmore school building. Their approaches and sensible proposals were given lip service by the Minister.
This so-called ‘rare opportunity to have a say in local funding’ is a farce, because some of the projects were already approved for funding years ago and are in train as ongoing Council projects, such as the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre access lift and upgrade (funded by Council to the tune of $700,000), and the Greek Community Childcare Centre refurbishment.
But ignoring this misleading list of works, let’s consider this as a template for allocating funding – in short, the projects with the most votes get the money. This sounds reasonable, except that in the same way as the Labor Party is fond of branch stacking, this process is also wide open for vote stacking.
Need I say more, except to remind the Minister that funding allocations are usually done according to strict criteria, at arm’s length and according to levels of need, so that the most vocal or the best mates, don’t necessarily always get the cash (except in NSW under the current ALP government).
How about some good governance and less dishonest electioneering?
Cathy Peters, Greens Councillor, Marrickville Council
Crunching the numbers
The Environmental Assessment for Sydney Metro stage 1, Central to Rozelle, indicates that between 17,000 and 23,000 trips will be made during the peak hour in 2021, six years after opening.
It is the reported claim of one-sixth capacity (‘Metro numbers don’t add up’, October 1) that does not add up.
In addition, the ‘87 per cent empty’ claim was in fact incorrectly calculated by a Sydney newspaper.
The newspaper mistakenly compared patronage figures in 2016 with the expected capacity beyond 2031. This is like comparing apples with oranges.
More than 10,000 people live within an 800-metre radius of the metro station for Rozelle, providing a large number of potential users within a short walking distance.
Many people from Rozelle and surrounding areas will use the metro for the convenience of a four-minute trip to the CBD and the frequency of services.
CityRail trains already terminate at Central where passengers transfer to other crowded CityRail services. Metro provides a frequent, fast and reliable alternative for these passengers.
Sydney Metro has a strong commitment to community consultation (‘Dancing in the streets’, October 1).
Staff have been meeting regularly with property owners, tenants, community groups and businesses, thousands of newsletters have been sent out, community information sessions have been held at key stages during the year, an online forum has run on the Sydney Metro website, and feedback has been sought for the Sydney Metro Stage 1 Environmental Assessment.
Lastly, it’s worth noting that construction work for Stage 1 will have a much smaller impact than would have been the case for Paris or other, older metros.
While there might be small entries in Paris today the impact during construction would have been massive, with ‘open cut’ techniques used rather than tunnelling.
Sydney Metro will use modern construction methods to minimise impacts. Station entries will take up as little space as possible while still incorporating essential services such as fresh air vents and an emergency exit.
Rodd Staples, Acting Chief Executive, Sydney Metro