Wednesday, 3 September 2008

My vision for the Future of Newcastle

  • Newcastle as a leader – not just locally, but regionally, nationally and internationally - in tackling the challenge of climate change.
  • Newcastle being the first local government area in Australia to adopt the objective of being truly carbon neutral.
  • Newcastle establishing a community Green Power program, that involves Council bulk purchasing cheaper green energy from electricity providers and selling it on to residents at an affordable rate.
  • Newcastle with a network of connected cycleways separated from the road traffic, where Newcastle families can cycle in safety. Not just cycle symbols painted on the road to create what many call “car door death lanes”.
  • Newcastle with a fully integrated public transport system, because the elected Council has advocated for real State Government funding and the Council Administration has worked with all the relevant State Agencies to deliver park-and-ride facilities, and interchanges and integrated ticketing.
  • Newcastle reactivated and reinvigorated with cultural events across the City, every weekend.
  • A Council Administration that recognises that it is there to serve the community, to be helpful and not put up road blocks to community initiatives.
  • Having all Council plans developed with the community not developed in the round house and presented to the community for comment. Imagine real community engagement.
  • Having dedicated infrastructure plans for all community assets, whether they are the roads, the drainage system or the street trees. And these plans available to everyone on the internet. So everyone knows when the drainage is going to be fixed or when the tree is going to be planted in their street.
  • A City where the approved Development Control Plans are adhered to, where the community and developers have some certainty in the system because they have a reasonable expectation of the outcome.
  • A City where Development Approvals are acted upon within 2 years, not just onsold for a profit or sat on indefinitely. Imagine being proud to take out of town visitors down Hunter Street.
  • A City that has solved the issue of homelessness, that has helped the 3000 homeless find accommodation, by ensuring that all major developments have at least 15% affordable housing and appropriate emergency accommodation is provided throughout the City.
  • Council meetings that are focussed on outcomes, not dithering, bickering and excuses.
  • All Council meetings broadcast on the internet so anyone can see how the meetings are conducted and how their elected representatives are performing.
  • A Council that stands up for the community and doesn’t pander to Sydney Labor or big developers or corporations who have donated to election campaigns
  • A City where everyone is respected, where their views are respected – whether they wear a suit, or live in the neighbourhood, or are going for a quiet night out or wear a baseball cap backwards.
Newcastle City Council has an important role to play in, not only reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but in managing the impacts of climate change for our community.
  • As Lord Mayor, I will ensure Newcastle Council proactively develops a Climate Change Strategy in its first year.
  • This Strategy will include Newcastle Council establishing a community Green Power program. That’s good for families and good for the environment.
  • As Lord Mayor, I will move for a significant increase in Council’s budget for cycleways from less than 0.1% of the budget to 1%. Safe cycleways. That’s good for families and good for the environment.
  • As Lord Mayor, I will support the community to adapt to climate change with Newcastle Council providing
  • interest-free loans for installing solar panels
  • a fund to encourage and subsidise the take-up of solar hot water systems
  • investigating rate reductions for maintaining significant trees
  • a free or cheap bicycle hire system, (like the one recently introduced in Paris)
  • supporting community based initiatives like local vegetable buying co-ops, community markets and the use of public land to grow food
  • As Lord Mayor, I will continue to stand up for the community – whether it is about the Sydney Labor government taking away community involvement in planning, under-funding public transport or building out our harbour.
  • As Lord Mayor, I will continue to stand with the community for appropriate development to move our City forward and against inappropriate development that over-shadows, is too big and bulky and is not in keeping with the heritage of our City.
  • As Lord Mayor I will show real leadership about this serious threat to our community.• The time to be serious about climate change.
  • It’s time for generational change.
  • It’s time for new leadership.
  • There’s no better time to vote green.

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