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Save Our Sydney Suburbs (NSW) Inc.
News Release August 2003

The Press is turning

They are starting to believe what we have been saying.

For three years Save Our Suburbs has been maintaining that the government’s misguided policy of forcing high density onto unwilling communities is highly damaging. The signs are becoming more and more hopeful that our message is at last starting to get through to the press.

In today’s Sydney Morning Herald, 5 August 2003, Anne Davies and Stephanie Peatling have published major articles on Sydney’s sewer system –overloaded and busting at the seams. They state that a parliamentary inquiry has now noted the strain that urban consolidation is putting on the system.

What a turnabout! In a letter to me in February 2000 the then Minister of Planning, Dr Refshauge maintained that high density saves costs that would otherwise have to be spent on providing water and sewerage infrastructure to serve new growth sectors. However Save Our Suburbs has been saying that it is more cost-effective to put new infrastructure into new urban development areas than to try to upgrade existing infrastructure with all the problems associated with digging up pipes in busy roads. By new development areas we mean satellite cities in suitable locations such as on degraded farmland where adverse environmental effects will be minimal - see our website Overloading existing infrastructure will prove to be much more expensive in the long run. After the rains we had in May we had this letter published in the Sydney Morning Herald:

"Policy leads to pollution

Your article "River sleuth despairs as sewage pours into bay", Herald 22 May describes plastic bags, soft drink cans and "lumps of faeces as big as golf balls" floating in the Georges River resulting from our recent rain spell. The magnitude of this pollution is a direct consequence of the State Government's high density policies.

The stormwater drains and the sewers of our suburbs were designed for the original population numbers and building structures. Under its urban consolidation policy the Carr Government is forcing hugely increased population densities into these suburbs without improving the infrastructure. The sewers cannot cope with the increased number of people and have a much reduced safety factor. Add to this the vanished gardens that are now covered with tiles, bitumen and concrete. There is now much less open ground to absorb rainwater. Some of this rainwater then rushes into creeks carrying pollution with it. Some enters the overloaded sewers and causes them to overflow.

Yet the Government keeps on telling us that their high-density policies are resulting in a more sustainable city".

The attitude of the State Planning Department, Department of Planning’s is still completely contrary to what the Sydney Morning Herald reporters and what the parliamentary inquiry are now saying. These state bureaucrats are still busy forcing high density onto fiercely resisting communities. Why? Their policy destroys our environment, our way of life and our heritage. Multiple units are replacing diverse attractive homes and gardens. Traffic congestion, overcrowding, overloaded infrastructure and increasing noise are plaguing us.

How much longer will it take before the State Government ceases this dictatorial wanton destruction?

Tony Recsei
Save Our Suburbs (SOS)

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