Local Residents Arrested in WestCONnex Protest
Two members of the WestCONnex Action Group have been arrested during a protest to prevent the destruction of a Haberfield apartment block which had been forcibly acquired to make way for a Westconnex construction site.
The pair, who were later charged with trespass, occupied the premises overnight, with one of the arrested, Bill Holliday, stating they were prepared to stay as long as possible. “To demolish places like these is just a travesty when so many people in Sydney are struggling to find homes,” said Holliday.
WestCONnex Action Group spokesperson Pauline Lockie believes the incident will not be the last of its kind. “We expect to see more residents engaging in civil disobedience until WestCONnex and this senseless destruction of our city is halted,” she said.
Community Legal Centre Faces Funding Cuts
Marrickville Legal Centre will have to consider decreasing staff and services if the government’s proposed funding cuts are to go ahead next year. The 30 per cent national funding cut announcement follows the imminent loss of their domestic and family violence support worker, after funding through the Inner West Domestic Violence Pro-Active Support Service (IWDVPASS) was discontinued.
As it stands the centre will no longer have a specified domestic and family violence support worker from June 2016 onwards, despite an identified continuing need. The centre currently provides free legal help to vulnerable community members, assisting over 4000 people in the last year alone.
“Any cut to funding is a direct cut to the number of people we can help,” said Executive Officer Catherine Dornan. This has led Dornan to call on local residents to contact their local MP and request that the cuts do not go ahead.
City of Canada Bay Mayor Resigns
While the future of the City of Canada Bay Council remains uncertain in the wake of newly amalgamated ‘Inner West’ Council, Mayor of Canada Bay Angelo Tsirekas has taken action and announced his resignation.
Moving on from his role as mayor, Tsirekas will be contesting the seat of Reid as a Labor candidate in the upcoming federal election, taking on incumbent MP Craig Laundy.
Canada Bay Council is part of a pending plan to merge with Burwood and Strathfield Councils, however confirmation is dependent on court approval following legal action by Strathfield Council in a bid to prevent the forced amalgamation. The proposed plan is in conflict with Canada Bay’s preferred option of merging with Auburn and Burwood Council to form a ‘Sydney Olympic Park’ council.
Prior to his resignation, Tsirekas stated that the desired position of the council has always been to “stand alone” and that they were opposed to any forced mergers.
“We were disappointed to see the NSW Liberal State Government proceed with forced amalgamations of local councils around New South Wales,” he said. “The Liberal Party said one thing before the election and did something completely different after. They had no mandate to push through forced amalgamations.”
In regards to the newly formed ‘Inner West’ council, appointed Administrator Richard Pearson insists that it will be “business as usual” during the changeover. “Residents can be assured that rubbish collections, library hours and other key services will continue as normal,” he said. Pearson will be responsible for Council decisions until September 2017, when elections for new councillors will take place.
Leichhardt to Host the 2016 ‘Koori Knockout’
The Inner West will play host to the 2016 Aboriginal Rugby League Carnival, otherwise known as the ‘Koori Knockout’ with Leichhardt Council partnering with the Redfern All Blacks to support the competition.
One of the biggest Indigenous gatherings in Australia, the October event will draw 130 teams plus tens of thousands of people from across NSW to the local community. Ex-mayor of Leichhardt Darcy Byrne said the partnership will bring significant benefits to the Leichhardt community. “Hosting the Koori Knockout is a chance to bring top class sport to our area and do something practical to promote reconciliation in our own backyard,” he said.
Now in it’s 46th year, the competition has its roots in the Inner West, with the first knockout held at Camdenville Oval in St Peters, way back in 1971.