BY ADDIE MORTON
An alliance of over 150 local community groups has formed to fight overdevelopment in the city of Sydney.
The group, Save Sydney Coalition, officially launched on Thursday April 12 in the Domain just behind Parliament House. The peak body, one voice representing the interests of hundreds of community groups and campaigners, has called on the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and the Ministers of Transport and Planning to stop the city’s overdevelopment and the obliteration of heritage in suburbs and local communities through its current agenda.
“I just think on every level this government is screwing up this city, big time,” Janette Willett, member of SSC, said. “I’m very glad to meet people here today. This is a wonderful organisation that covers so many community groups.”
Spokesperson Barbara Coorey says the group wants a re-imagining of current government policies. She says SSC “wants meaningful consultation and the inclusion of the public’s voice in residential and commercial development plans.”
The group aims for meaningful consultation, changes to government planning policies, greater community awareness and the development of strategic policies in a range of areas.
“We want to cease the pace of overdevelopment in the city,” spokeswoman Jane Hunter said. “We’re very concerned about the loss of heritage, the loss of green spaces and also the inability to really, genuinely consult with people.”
The group’s logo is a lifebuoy, which they have “thrown to save Sydney from drowning in overdevelopment.” Members believe developers are running the state, not the government. They aim to take back Sydney in a way that will allow for rational development and rational growth without robbing the city of its heritage, green spaces and liveability.
With heavily congested roads in the city, Save Sydney Coalition aims for better public transport suited to Sydney. Janette Willett, who represents Rozelle fighting Westconnects, believes focus needs to be placed on public transport in all areas.
“We don’t need more roads, it’s just a scam,” Willett said. “It’s just so politicians that we have at this moment get nice little donations from these companies. These companies are going to get very rich in the next 40 years. It’s an outrage.”
On top of serious public transport needs, spokesperson Barbara Coorey also sees several critic issues arising in the city.
“Our city needs more schools and hospitals, greens spaces are scarce, heritage is disappearing, adequate water supply has not been factored in, and the heating up of our city through poor design and cheap buildings is not a legacy we want to leave our children,” Coorey said.
At the launch on Thursday, members of Save Sydney Coalition were not shy about pointing fingers.
“It’s incumbent on all of us that we put the blame where its squarely sits, and that is in that Parliament NSW Liberal Government that are actually not listening to communities at present,” a member of SSC said at the rally.
Spokesperson Coorey, who is a long time Sydney resident and community activist, says people are taking action all over the city.
“It’s a Sydney cry- from Belmore, to Ryde, to Cronulla, to Campbelltown, to Parramatta, to Windsor, to Cherrybrook, to Moore Park,” spokesperson Coorey said. “People have had enough- they want better plans for Sydney and more opportunities for real consultation and with a state election not far away the current government should be very worried.”
As the state election approaches, these community groups will continue to be one voice to make one united Sydney.
“People power does work,” Corinne Hurst, member of Bondi Junction Community Action said. “We have to band together to get our voice heard and hopefully make Sydney a great and vibrant place to live again.”