The issues of planning, development and public access to Sydney’s waterfront delivered a community focus during Sunday morning’s session of NSW ALP Conference.
Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for Planning Infrastructure and Heritage, Linda Burney, warned delegates that changes to planning laws by the O’Farrell Coalition Government meant less say for local communities on new development.
“Labor needs realise that the public still has the perception that we were too close to developers while in Government, something O’Farrell is politically exploiting to his advantage right now,” Ms Burney said.
“Changes to planning rules introduced by Barry O’Farrell have meant that in some circumstances, community views on new projects will not be sought or listened to when it comes to particular developments,” she said.
Losing it in Leichhardt
Leichhardt Councillor Darcy Byrne used the controversial redevelopment of Balmain Leagues Club as an example, describing the widespread community angst at the high-rise plan.
“We’ve heard in recent days about murky deals being done behind club members’ backs, but where does O’Farrell stand on the development proposal?” Mr Byrne asked.
“You know we’re going in the wrong direction when Air Services Australia complains that the height of the skyscraper will interfere with planes landing.”
“I’m the most passionate Wests Tigers’ fan out there – maybe Senator Faulkner would disagree – and I support the return to our spiritual home but we can’t get there through a high-rise,” he said.
Keeping Sydney Harbour in public hands
John Graham and Verity Firth moved an amendment advocating policy that Sydney’s foreshore and harbour lands should, where possible, be held in public hands to ensure ongoing public access, free of private restrictions.
“We should be for public ownership, public access and the public interest,” Mr Graham said.
“We be standing up – not for the thousands of waterfront property owners – but for the millions of people who want to enjoy public access to our harbour,” he said.
The morning debate also covered moves to democratise Country Labor, the first outing by the newly formed Labor Loves Live Music and the keynote address to conference, a formidable speech from the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.