Sydney’s leaders welcome 2013
- Peter Hackney
- Thursday, 3 January 2013
Sydney’s political leaders have bid farewell to an eventful 2012 and greeted 2013 with enthusiasm, outlining their key priorities for the coming year.
Our leaders at all three tiers of government – federal, state and local – say they have been happy to fulfil numerous goals in 2012 but have much more to do in 2013.
Federal Member for Sydney Tanya Plibersek was proud of achieving significant reforms over the course of last year. Also the Federal Minister for Health, Ms Plibersek oversaw a number of major heath projects, some of which received significant international praise as bold new initiatives.
“Plain packaging of tobacco was a difficult fight but one worth winning,” Ms Plibersek told City News.
The World Health Organization applauded the outcome, noting: “The legislation sets a new global standard for the control of a product that accounts for nearly six million deaths each year.”
Asked to nominate other 2012 highlights, Ms Plibersek replied: “The new dental scheme, which will expand access to the dentist for 3.4 million kids, Gardasil vaccination for boys, expanding bowel cancer screening [and] point-ofcare testing for HIV.”
She said her main goal going into 2013 was “health care for Australians when and where they need it. A greater emphasis on primary care and prevention – keeping people healthy and out of hospital.”
State Member for Sydney Alex Greenwich similarly bristled with projects and plans. Fighting for better education outcomes for Sydney’s kids has been a top priority for Mr Greenwich since winning office, one that will continue in 2013.
“It’s absolutely vital that our primary schools have the capacity to accommodate Sydney’s fast-growing young demographic,” he said. “Sydney also needs a new public high school and that’s something I won’t stop pushing for until we get it.”
He said he would also strongly oppose any sell-off of public housing at Millers Point, the mooted second casino for Sydney, and the controversial “floating heliport” plan for Sydney Harbour.
On the heliport, which is shaping up as one of the most controversial plans for Sydney Harbour in years, Mr Greenwich said: “The government’s plan for a floating heliport questions the respect they have for Sydney Harbour.”
Mr Greenwich’s political mentor, Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore, said: “2012 was an extraordinarily busy year.”
The City of Sydney’s new Local Area Plan (LEP) was nominated by Ms Moore as a highlight, along with new LED street lighting, the installation of solar power on Council buildings, planting thousands of trees, aesthetic improvements to Chinatown and opening the historic Gardener’s Lodge in Victoria Park as a café.
“The City has important challenges to deal with in 2013,” she said. “There is an urgent need for childcare and I have fast-tracked $55 million to create new facilities, the first of which will be created in East Sydney.”
Extending Sydney’s bikeway network, park and playground improvements, opening the new Eternity Theatre, and planning the new Green Square Library and Plaza were just some of Ms Moore’s other projects for the New Year.
She said she was honoured to be elected Lord Mayor for a third time in 2012.
“The community has shown its support for our plans and our way of working, and I’m looking forward to working with my fellow councillors in 2013 to make Sydney green, global and connected.”
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