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Save Our Sydney Suburbs (NSW) Inc.
News Release April 2006

Posturing Pollies

Hi SOS Members

An estimated 1400 people were at the rally in Ryde yesterday This was a magnificent effort by the local community group CAPO to try to get a better outcome from the redevelopment proposal for the Ryde Rehabilitation Centre. The high profile of the speakers who turned up was an indicator that politicians are really scared that SOS might contest these marginal seats.

Sylvia Hale of the Greens outlined the problems the high-density development would have on Ryde. She criticised the legislation that has just been passed that will allow Frank Sartor to take over council planning powers. She lamented the reality that planning policies are driven by the donations made by developers to political parties rather than for the good of the community.

Opposition members Chris Hartcher (Shadow Minster of Planning) and Anthony Roberts (member for Lane Cove) spoke strongly about the detrimental effect overdevelopments would have on the community. They circularised copies of a draft bill that they are introducing into parliament to protect the Ryde Rehabilitation site.

The utterances from the politicians starkly revealed the hollowness of their stance. The Ryde Rehabilitation redevelopment proposal stems squarely from the government’s high-density urban consolidation policy. Even if CAPO were to win on the Rehabilitation Centre proposal, this will only be a temporary reprieve. Unless the urban consolidation policy itself is dumped there will be another such proposal somewhere else, and then another, with all the detrimental results of congested traffic and overloaded infrastructure.

Unfortunately the Greens believe in urban consolidation. Their policies include a more open immigration policy which will result in significantly greater numbers coming in. They also say city boundaries must not be increased. Logic dictates that the inevitable result is higher density. What is the point of railing against any particular high-density proposal while at the same time advocating a high-density policy?

It gets worse. The Opposition publicly campaigns against any particular development the community is upset about, but its policies promote high-density. It speaks about listening to the community. Consider the events leading to the draconian dictatorial legislation allowing Planning Minister Frank Sartor to take planning powers from councils. The Legislative Assembly Hansard record of the second reading of this legislation reveals the Opposition did not vote against the bill. Elizabeth Farrelly, writing in the Sydney Morning Herald says the Opposition did not want to be seen voting against this legislation for fear of upsetting the development lobby.

SOS has widely publicised that the major political parties receive huge donations from developers. The Greens have done a great job in further publicising this issue. It is not good enough to just blame developers. Corruption can only operate if the regulatory / cultural environment allows it to. Sort that out – and we have solved the problem. This responsibility falls squarely onto the politicians. Save Our Suburbs believes that political donations from developers should be banned.

Our organisation is the only one that genuinely opposes high-density policies.

Tony Recsei

President, Save Our Suburbs

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