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Save Our Sydney Suburbs Inc. newsletter July 2002

Our voice is being heard:

"PlanFirst" - a plan that came out last!

In February last year SOS realised that the carefully nurtured "PlanFirst" proposals of the Department of Planning had the potential to drastically increase the dictatorial powers of that department at the expense of democratically elected councils. As a result yet more people would be crammed into our suburbs. SOS prepared a carefully researched ten page critical analysis of the proposals. This document was distributed to parliamentarians and mayors of local councils.

SOS also made strong representations to the parliamentary members of the General Purpose Standing Committee No 4 which has planning matters within its brief.

The timetable that the Department of Planning had prepared for the introduction of the autocratic "PlanFirst" legislation then went awry. Previously announced deadlines came and went and the department went into damage control. Finally, last month Planning Minister Dr Refshauge made a statement from which one could plainly see that plans for the legislation had been scrapped.

SOS has been working in a similar way to oppose the proposed State Environmental Planning Policy SEPP66 which, if introduced, will make SEPP5 and SEPP53 look feeble by comparison.

SOS pressure is having more and more effect. SOS has been pushing for some time for inter-government cooperation to reduce population pressures on Sydney. Bob Carr has now announced discussions with the Commonwealth on this topic.

The Dictatorship of the High Density Bullies.

The Department of Planning over the years has craftily hidden behind local councils and the Land and Environment Court to force its unacceptable high-density policies onto unwilling communities. They are now using a new approach - participating in fomenting divisions within communities.

Attracted by lucrative financial incentives and the fiction that development would "save" the community from further forced overdevelopment, residents in DUNTROON AVE, LANE COVE together with property developers devised a plan to sell their homes for high-density development. A development application was submitted to Lane Cove Council which eventually responded by proposing to rezone the land to a lower floor/space ratio than the developers wanted.

Not satisfied, the developers then approached the Department of Planning to determine the rezoning application. The Duntroon Ave owners wishing to sell are thus pitted against those in the community opposing overdevelopment adjacent to the last remaining local precinct of 1920s single dwellings.

The Minister of Planning, emboldened by this split in the community, has decided to amend the SEPP53 exemption to override the decision of the elected community representatives. The result will be a huge increase in traffic problems, overshadowing and overcrowding.


At a meeting of 447 residents a proposed overdevelopment totalling 20 storeys was rejected. Community representative, Mel Stokes said "We are heartily sick of continuing overdevelopment. This monstrosity is proposed to be built on land which was stolen from residents, by the Council in 1962, when they bulldozed the School of Arts." The area is already choked with traffic. Meeting Chairman, Brian Shaw said, "The price for disregarding Beverly Hills residents wishes will be electoral backlash at the 2003 polls." A petition calling on Council to require developers to declare political donations when placing a development proposal, is being circulated. Disclosure will help transparency of process when Council deals with developments in future.

Annual General Meeting

Notice is hereby given of the Annual General Meeting of Save Our Suburbs (SOS) NSW Inc and of that of its party wing.

Time: 7.30 pm on Wednesday 28 August 2002

Place: Small meeting room, North Sydney Council Chambers, 200 Miller Street, North Sydney.


Agenda for party wing:

Due to time limitations, there will be no guest speaker.

We need enthusiastic volunteers for our committees. Please volunteer for a position that would suit you. Nominations of candidates for election must be in writing, state the organisation, be signed by the proposer and seconder and be accompanied by the written consent of the candidate, all of whom are members of SOS. Nominations must be delivered 7 days before the AGM.

Courage and commitment

In our April newsletter we advised you that the State Electoral Commissioner had refused to register the SOS Party Wing in time to fully participate in the 2003 State election. We are not going to take this lying down.

We have commenced action in the Supreme Court challenging this. We will argue before the court that we complied with all the legislative requirements to be registered as a political party and should have been registered in time for the deadline for the State Election 2003. This case relates to a fundamental point of democracy in our State; the right to register as a political party and have your voice heard at an election.

Courage and commitment is required to overcome the combination of dictatorial bureaucrats and politicians driven by developer donations. Anything half-hearted will be bulldozed into the dust. The government is cramming more and more people into our suburbs, overloading our infrastructure. Roads, hospitals and law enforcement cannot cope. The beauty, heritage and natural amenity of our urban environment is being lost forever. Our quality of life is at stake.

We are establishing a fighting fund to help with the court case. If we are successful donations up to $100 will be tax deductable. Any residual funds will be used to help us challenge uncaring politicians in the 2003 election. We need your help. Please send us your fighting fund donation. Please also try to persuade friends and acquaintances to send in a substantial meaningful contribution to our effort. Please show you care.


Tony Recsei President

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