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Praise & Brickbats

PICK-A-PROJECT votes are in, but not eve-ryone is happy. The State Government's community building partnerships program asked residents to pick their favourite local project for funding writes Kate Carr in the Central of 11 November 2009.

Balmain MP Verity Firth andMarrickvillee MP Carmel Tebbutt did letterbox drops asking residents asking how the Government should distribute $300,000 in grants. Each resident was given five votes to share among the projects, which included applications from cultural, sporting, community and church groups.

Touted as an exercise in participatory democracy when it was launched in October, the scheme has not been without its critics. The Settlement Community Centre in Redfern, which has recently been included in Ms Tebbutt's seat, wrote to its members last week criticising the process and asking for their support. The centre's secretary Lyn Turnbull and Ray Jackson from the Indigenous Social

Justice Association, wrote that the vot-ing process was unfair to The Settlement because it was on the fringes of the elec-torate and serviced marginalised clients who did not have computers.

"Many of those who use and are in-volved with The Settlement are not in the Marrickville electorate and hence will be ineligible to vote," the letter stated. There were 14 eligible applications for funds in Clover Moore's seat of Sydney including redevelopment of St Barnabas Church, amphitheatre at St Philips Church, refur-bishment of the activities room in Red Cross House, an exercise terrace for the Chinese Youth League, Dragon Boat dis-ability access, purchase of East Sydney Neighbourhood Association meeting room on Burton St, play area for Padding-ton Children's Centre and equipment for Sydney Police & Community Youth Club. The votes are being collated.