NSW deserves better

No WestConnex protest in Camperdown, December 2018. Photo: Pip Hinman

And so it begins. Premier Gladys Berejiklian has been hitting the airwaves telling us all how successful she has been at raiding the public pantry and flogging off the spoils.

On the other side of the political divide Labor MP Jo Haylen is busy telling her Summer Hill electorate just how much WestConnex is on the nose — but conveniently neglecting to mention that her party is right behind WestConnex.

Her leaflet states: “Jo Haylen and Labor will invest in the public transport our city needs to get moving — not more polluting tollroads like WestConnex”. How brazen is that.

In Birchgrove, Shadow Minister for Transport Jodi McKay, while touting for Labor’s Balmain candidate, told anxious residents that the Western Harbour Tunnel will not proceed — while blithely ignoring the fact that at least 40% of it has already been approved and that the contract has been let.

When pressed, all McKay could parrot was: “The ALP opposes the Western Harbour Tunnel … The ALP opposes the Western Harbour Tunnel …”

We have a few more weeks of promises and more promises ahead of us until the March 23 election.

And more mudslinging as well, as Berejiklian puts the boot into Labor leader Michael Daley and attempts to tag him with the corruption label.

Berejiklian seems to have conveniently forgotten her role in the Darley Road Dan Murphy’s affair during her tenure as Transport Minister. There, the multi-million dollar liquor company was allowed to set up on a site despite both parties knowing the government would seek to acquire the land for a tunnelling site for the WestConnex project.

Meanwhile Sydney’s population continues to grow, our roads become increasingly clogged and demountables sprout in schools like wildflowers in the desert after rain.

Hospitals are overcrowded, waiting times in casualty often reach 8 hours and the queues for anything but life threatening surgery grow ever longer.

Nurses in day surgery recovery wards are overwhelmed and since November, MRI’s for knees can no longer be bulk billed if you happen to be over 65 — yet another present for seniors from the economic rationalists.

Human induced climate change is still denied with sceptics in both state and federal parliaments trumpeting Trump-like rhetoric, while tollroads such as WestConnex consume concrete at a staggering rate. This despite concrete producing up to 8% of all global carbon dioxide emissions, raising the core temperature of cities and ensuring precious rain water is ushered out to sea, taking with it tonnes of plastic debris.

With fish kills and dying rivers and charges of gross mismanagement of water licences, New South Wales is sorely hurting and is in desperate need of care.

It does not need short term “fixes” that line the pockets of multinationals and the parasites who feed off them; ones that are ultimately worsening the amenity that Sydney could once boast about.

NSW craves genuine leadership that benefits us all.

Leadership that has not been bought and paid for through donations to both major political parties.

Leadership that does not leave us all impoverished, with continued degradation of both the built and natural environments.

On March 3, there will be a gathering in Hyde Park North. People from all walks of life who see the amenity and lifestyle of this great city being seriously harmed are coming together.

Six years of neo-conservative rule has done untold institutional damage from which we may never recover.

I would love to think that we are “mad as hell and that we are not going to take it anymore”.

That we can all see a connectedness in all of this.

That much that ails us has a common cause.

That we need to turn things around.

That the needs of Sydney’s people must be placed before profit.

That policies that are anti-people and anti-environment can only ever diminish us all and the city that we live in.

That the failure of successive governments to recognise the structural heritage and historic precincts that are threatened all around us is our failure. We have a duty to demand that our homes and neighbourhoods are protected.

There is so much to decry. But there is common ground.

A recognition that privatisation is not the answer and that the bottom line is not a god.

An acknowledgement that neo-conservative economic philosophy has no place in the 21st century, in Sydney or anywhere for that matter, because it is as discredited as the radiating tollroad “solution” to our city’s traffic chaos.

We deserve better. Better than Berejiklian. Better than Daley. Better than politicians who put their hands where they should not.

We need representatives with vision and moral fibre. But there are precious few standing for the March 23 election who are not muzzled by the parties that got them elected.

So come along on March 3 and rub shoulders with others, who, like you, really do care.

[The March 3 Fix NSW rally will begin at Hyde Park North at 1pm.]

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