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SSH The Fast News - May 2009

Trevor Davies in Fast News in the South Sydney Herald of May 2009 covers a number of items of interest to Redfern Waterloo including the future of secondary bus routes, RWA’s newe CEO, The Urban Taskforce on affordable housing and staff cuts planned for Erskineville and Redfern railway stations.

Bus routes cut everywhere?

Tara Clifford, in this issue, writes about the cuts to the 311 bus service. Andrew West, last month in the Sydney Morning Herald reported that: “The Rail Tram and Bus Union fears the planned changes (to the 311 bus route) could signal cuts to other services. The secretary of the Union's bus division, Raoul Boanza, said the 326 and 327 services from Bondi Junction to City via Bellevue Hill, the 355 between Marrickville Metro shopping mall to Bondi Junction via Alexandria, and the 361 from South Bondi and North Clovelly to Bondi Junction could also be under threat. We are worried that, little by little, Sydney Buses is trying to make these secondary routes less and less frequent," he said. "Then you get into a vicious circle because the more irregular the service becomes, the more the patronage drops off and then they say, 'Hey, it's not viable’”.

Promising beginnings

Roy Wakelin-King, the RWA’s new CEO, is certainly making an impression. In the RWA’s new Bulletin he writes: “I was pleased to be able to attend the REDWatch meeting on 5 March 2009 with the Minister for Planning and Redfern-Waterloo to hear first-hand some of the issues of interest and concern to the community.”

It also looks like the Aboriginal Housing Company’s Pemulwuy project is about to get approval. A new Minister and CEO. What an improvement!

Developers’ Lobby responds

In this issue Greens MP Sylvia Hale, Greens Councillors Harris and Doutney and Deputy Lord Mayor Marcelle Hoff get stuck into the Urban Task Force and accuse them of undermining the city’s affordable housing policy.

The Task Force has responded. Its chief executive, Aaron Gadiel, says that developers have been trying to get more affordable housing into inner city suburbs for years. Mr Gadiel says that more affordable housing can be built on a commercial basis. “Councils in inner suburban areas should not be prohibiting the development of compact, high amenity, pedestrian friendly urban communities,” he said. “For example, the City of Sydney’s Draft Affordable Housing Strategy expressly excludes studio apartments from its definition of affordable housing. The City of Sydney also restricts the ability of developers to build apartments with three or more bedrooms – denying families the opportunity of more affordable living close to the central business district.

There are many home buyers eager to establish themselves in secure homes close to work and services. There are developers willing to build these homes for them at an affordable price.” Mr Gadiel said what Councils must do is abandon any plans to impose new or increased levies on development. “The City of Sydney’s plan for a levy on newly-built homes would unfairly burden owner-occupiers. As much as $900 million may need to be raised by this new tax. The plan taxes young families struggling to buy a home of their own to subsidise those who are renting. Council rules are also forcing up the cost of building new homes – pricing them beyond the reach of many ordinary home buyers.”

Do you agree with the Urban Task Force or the Council? Why not email your comments to .

Redfern and Erko stations deserted?

Fast News has been contacted by quite a few station staff from Redfern and Erskineville about the rumoured staff cuts still being negotiated with State Rail. The changes seem drastic. Erskineville: 4 staff down to 2, includes abolishing the Station Master’s and Duty Manager’s job.

Fewer ticket sellers and less maintenance for ticket machines will mean longer queues. Station staff positions will be cut leaving many stations unmanned and ticket windows closed. Proposed abolishment of transit officers will see a steep increase in crime related incidents and will make stations less safe. Cleaning staff on stations will be cut leaving stations open to more vandalism. Cutting so many staff will mean in an emergency there will be less people to evacuate stations and protect public safety.

Barry Rule from the ASU said: “The state government isn’t listening to the pleas of rail workers and their unions. We need to make our system better not worse. Rail workers and the public have had enough and the cuts to services have to stop.”

Source: South Sydney Herald May 2009