This week, when North Parramatta Residents’ Action Group begged Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore to “adopt the community of Parramatta, as we are left without a democratically elected council” there certainly was envy. It was the envy of people deliberately disenfranchised at a moment of great change, people gazing wistfully at a place where local government is strong, free and fair. It was an “I’ll have what she’s having” moment.
This envy is entirely justified. Parramatta is reeling from a governelopment boom: 3000 apartments on its irreplaceable heritage precinct (Cumberland Hospital, 1818 Female Factory); the $2 billion ultra-ugly Parramatta Square project behind the old town hall; the proposed new Powerhouse, or whatever fragment of it finally drifts up-river; the demolition of the Pirtek Stadium and pool for a bigger, more lucrative stadium (no pool); plus masses of private development like Meriton’s 54-storey Altitude, the city’s tallest tower, on the old David Jones site. Barely a squeak of affordable housing anywhere, and the people held voiceless, all the while, by a government-appointed city administrator.
Dr Elizabeth Farrelly
Spot on Dr Elizabeth Farrelly (in her opinion column in today’s – Sat March 25 – SMH)! She echos want many of us are feeling around Sydney and what at least 89% of us feel in Pittwater.
Here is a bit more on what she says:
It’s a pattern. Across Sydney, the communities most impacted by governelopment and loudest in their protest are chosen, like Lavinia, to be simultaneously brutalised and devoiced; Northern Beaches (French’s Forest Hospital and motorway), Leichhardt (Westconnex), Parramatta.
It’s ever so efficient, in a noir kind of way. Since, legally, these councils still exist, they still hold meetings – although minutes are often waif-like. No apologies, no dissent. All decisions unanimous and made with Teflon speed.
A recent extraordinary meeting of the Northern Beaches Council (Apologies Nil, Public Forum Nil) lasted 17 minutes. The council administration put a six-part motion to council and, absent a seconder, resolved in favour, not the slightest demur.
Totalitarian? Is that the word? Perhaps. Those gagged constituents definitely gonna envy people with proper (elected, honest, purposeful) government.
Read more of what she says in today’s SMH here.
Also sign petition to “Restore local democracy: no forced amalgamations” by clicking here.