Recrimination over rate rise rankles
- Jason Marshall
- Wednesday, 5 September 2012
Candidates are turning up the heat in the final days of the Marrickville Council elections, with Greens Councillor Max Phillips accusing Labor of running a scare campaign.
“Both the Labor party and the Independent group have been running a rate rise scare campaign,” Mr Phillips said.
“Even though no party actually supports a rate rise, they’re making the accusation, particularly the Labor Party, some of which is outright lies. They’ve been putting round that we want an $800 rate rise, which is absolute garbage.
“The Greens have a clear position of opposing the proposed rate rise. We’ve made that clear in all our leaflets. Unfortunately that hasn’t changed the way that they have been campaigning and I would say they are misleading the community for their own political advantage.”
Labor candidate Sam Iskandar denied there was a scare campaign, saying the Greens were on record as having been in support of a rate rise to pay for the new Marrickville Library.
There are two plans for the Library, which will be constructed on the former Marrickville Hospital site. The Greens would like a park to accompany the Library on the same block, while Labor believes the land is better used to fund the construction of the Library itself.
“We really need good management for our assets,” Mr Iskander said.
“That’s why we are planning to have a better concept for the site. We can’t really spend $30 million as a loan and pay the interest ,and pay for the maintenance. Income of the Council is really decreasing; in the long term it would send our Council bankrupt.
“We believe that we should also look at the office space and we should really build some type of building there, like commercial … so we can generate some income to meet the expenses so people are not forced to pay rate increases.”
Mr Phillips said what it comes down to is “whether the citizens want a new public park there or whether they’re ok with a nine story building.” He said his door would be open after the election to talk with Labor to try and have a more cooperative approach to ensure the progressive majority on Marrickville Council holds sway.
Mr Iskandar said just because they are the Greens, it doesn’t mean they are progressive on every issue.
“We are progressive, they are progressive, but it’s not about principles. It’s about working together in a realistic approach to deliver what is best for the community, and that’s what I call progressiveness.”
Meanwhile, in Marrickville Council’s north ward, Newtown, lead Greens candidate Sylvie Ellsmore said she is flattered the conservative parties are copying Greens policies.
“All the parties are targeting what you might consider traditional Green values, so everyone in all the materials is focusing on protecting public space, green spaces, bike paths … all of those things the Greens was first on the scene about,” she said. “Even the more conservative vote focuses on those issues because they know that’s what people care about.
“We’ve got a far right independent running, Sergio. He’s the ban the burka [mural] guy. He’s had quite a low profile, but even he’s running on equality and the environment, which is a bit cheeky considering it seems to be a direct pitch to Green votes. Even though, otherwise, his values are polar opposite to the Greens. He’s said that he’s running specifically to try and spoil the Green vote.”
Sergio Redegalli said the Greens do not hold a monopoly on those values.
“Their idea that the environment, equality or anything like that is theirs is total rubbish,” he said.
“It’s so egotistical that they can claim that they are the only ones who can talk about social issues. That’s the absurdity of their political viewpoint.”
Mr Redegalli’s voting preferences will be printed on stickers and stuck to oranges.
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