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Sydney – inner-city diversity

Alex Greenwich is opposed to the sale of inner-city social housing and supports The Rocks-Millers Point-Dawes Point community. “We’ve had major demographic changes with many families and children now living in the inner city. Childcare and schools are big concerns for many people. I’m pleased that we’ve managed to get government commitments to a new primary school in Ultimo and a new high school on the old Cleveland Street High site. The cost of housing is a real concern for people, with average Sydney house prices now $1 million. While the Commonwealth needs to take real action here, the NSW government has weakened affordable housing requirements and is making it harder for Councils to get developers to make sure low-cost housing is part of every development. Barangaroo must significantly increase the amount of inner-city affordable housing and provide new education, childcare, transport and open space options. I’m committed to pushing for reforms for apartment dwellers, particularly in regard to strata laws, short-term letting, overcrowding and smoke drift.”

Greenwich has been chair of Australian Marriage Equality since 2007. He says the inner city is an amazing diverse and accepting place, and he wants to keep it that way. “I’m also concerned about making sure that no one suffers from discrimination or unfair treatment, including LGBTI people, women, migrants, refugees and older people seeking a job.

“We also need to take strong action on climate change. We need to reduce emissions and ensure we have a sustainable transport system that gives most people alternatives to using their cars. Inner city residents have to deal with the serious impact of noise, air pollution, traffic and redevelopment projects. We need to make sure that residents’ amenity is protected while not destroying the things that make the inner city a great place to live. Animal welfare is also important to many constituents who want support for companion animals, oppose animal cruelty and want reform of factory farming.” Another area of concern for Greenwich is the government reducing open green space. “We must protect the parklands and open space because it won’t ever be replaced.”

The Greens’ Chris Bentin is also passionate about environmental protection and equality for everyone. Bentin has worked in the disability sector, assisted people living with AIDS/HIV and provided counselling and support for ACON’s Anti-Violence Project in Oxford Street. He believes Sydney needs to be a vibrant, 24-hour city and supports a new approach to alcohol-fuelled violence that relies on greater enforcement of the Responsible Service of Alcohol laws, rather than blanket lockouts in Kings Cross and the CBD. He also supports more funding to fight domestic violence and opposes the closure of inner-city women’s refuges.

Bentin says the sell-off of public housing at Millers Point is disheartening for those who have long called it home, and greater consultation is needed for projects like Barangaroo Point. The Greens want a new high school for inner-city Sydney, incorporating the old sandstone buildings in Bridge Road rather than the government’s preferred site in Cleveland Street, and more investment in renewable energy with a target of 100 per-cent renewable by 2030 using wind and solar farms.

Labor’s Edwina Lloyd says she has been fighting alongside the community to save Millers Point and the only hope now is a change of government. She says the cost of living in the inner city is a major challenge. “Housing costs in Sydney are rising faster than incomes and a lack of affordable housing is hurting many people. I support public housing, not only because of the need for affordable housing in the inner city but because a good, vibrant social mix of people in a community benefits everybody. We should be supporting people out of homelessness and ensuring that housing is accessible and affordable for everyone.” As a criminal lawyer, Lloyd says she sees the human cost of the failure to deal with drugs and drug-related mental health issues. “We need to start treating drug addiction as a health issue, and put more resources into rehabilitation services to help people overcome their addictions.”

Patrice Pandeleos (Liberal) is a volunteer at the Sydney Dogs and Cats Home and is dedicated to working hard to deliver transport, education and health funding for the people of Sydney.

 

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