Council must stand up for people's rights

September 27, 2008

"We need a council that stands up for residents against greedy developers and the anti-people policies of the state and federal governments", Vannessa Hearman, a Socialist Alliance candidate for South Ward in the Moreland Council election on November 29, told Green Left Weekly.

Hearman is joined on the ticket by Turan Ertekin and Sue Bolton. Ertekin is a long-term activist in the Turkish community and the union movement. Bolton was involved in the Northern Communities and Union Solidarity Group, which campaigned against Work Choices and other issues affecting the northern suburbs.

"An important issue in Moreland is housing affordability", Hearman said. The area has become very expensive and many long-term working-class residents, especially pensioners, can't afford the exorbitant rates.

The Socialist Alliance argues that rates should be based on people's ability to pay. "The council also needs to pressure the state government to build more public housing in the area", Hearman said.

Bolton was an organiser of Melbourne's Climate Emergency Rally in July. She told GLW: "Moreland council must join the community campaign against the state government's proposal for a new road tunnel linking the eastern and western suburbs. A new tollway would mean less money to upgrade public transport.

"While public transport in Moreland is better than many suburbs, there are no buses at night, on Sundays or after midday on Saturday to travel across the suburb."

Bolton said the Socialist Alliance is striving for Moreland to become a carbon-neutral council. "There are many things that the council could be doing, including making street lights solar-powered, using solar panels to power its buildings and capturing rainwater on all its buildings."

Ertekin told GLW, "Too many council services have been privatised. It's time for services to be run by the council instead of being contracted out, and for the council to pressure the state government to release more funds for local community services. The council can also do its bit to support workers by not giving contracts to companies that use individual contracts."

To help the campaign, or to find out more about the Socialist Alliance, phone (03) 9639 8622 or 0413 377 978.

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