The Socialist Alliance Victoria released the statement below on September 19.
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Socialist Alliance is standing Sue Bolton as its candidate for the October local elections in the north-east ward of the City of Moreland on a platform of “community need, not developer greed”.
Sue Bolton is the state convener of Socialist Alliance. She was has been involved in the Northern Communities and Union Solidarity Group, the campaign to save Ballerrt Mooroop College, the Aboriginal school in Glenroy and the campaign in support of refugees and asylum seekers.
Bolton has lived in the Moreland area since 2003 and is committed to fighting for public services and against inappropriate development.
“We need a council that stands up for residents against greedy developers and the anti-people policies of the state and federal governments,” she said. “Developers must be subject to mandatory height limits. They should reserve 20% of all new developments for low-cost housing and they should bear the cost of providing amenities, parking and open community spaces near their developments.
“An important issue in Moreland is housing affordability. The area has become very expensive and many long-term working-class residents, especially pensioners, can’t afford the exorbitant rates.”
Socialist Alliance says council rates should be based on people’s ability to pay. “No one should be pushed out of their home because they can’t afford the rates,” Bolton said. “Rates shouldn’t be increased above the inflation rate.
“Also, public housing in Moreland has been decreasing by 25 dwellings per year. The council needs to campaign for more public housing to be built in Moreland.”
Bolton believes council services should be brought back into the hands of council: “Too many council services have been privatised. It’s time for services, especially rubbish collection, 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.”
Bolton is also passionate about public transport.
She said: “The Fawkner area is very neglected with public transport. Residents in Fawkner are dependent on inadequate bus services and a train line that isn’t as frequent as other lines.
“While public transport in Moreland is better than in many other suburbs, there are almost no buses at night, on Sundays or after midday on Saturday to travel across the suburb.
“The state government is trying to make this situation even worse with its plan to axe the Hope St bus service on September 29. The Socialist Alliance has pledged its support for the Hope St bus. “There is already a problem of elderly people and people with disabilities being isolated in their homes,” said Bolton. “The Hope St bus is a community bus and needs to be saved.”
The Moreland council has taken climate initiatives, but there is much more that can be done.
All council buildings could be installed with solar panels and rainwater tanks. Bike paths could be upgraded and extended. A new north-south bike path along the Craigieburn line is desperately needed and the Upfield bike path needs upgrading.
Bolton said she wants to see Moreland become a climate action council: “We need a council that will actively pursue environmentally-friendly policies like installing solar panels and rainwater tanks on council buildings and make the area more bicycle friendly. We need a council that supports grassroots environmental action.”
The Socialist Alliance wants the council to have an ethical contracts policy. For example, Moreland Council should have no contracts with companies like Veolia, which supports Israeli incursions onto Palestinian land.