Socialists announce ‘liveable city’ ticket for Sydney council election

June 14, 2024
Rachel Evans is running for the mayor in the City of Sydney elections in September. Photo: Aman Kapur

“People before profit” is the rallying cry of six grassroots activists, who are standing for the Socialist Alliance in the City of Sydney Council elections on September 14.

Evans, the ticket's candidate for Lord Mayor, is active with Action for Public Housing and City of Sydney for Palestine.

She said her ticket believes that “people power is our only and best weapon against voracious property investors”.

The City of Sydney is “probably the richest council in the country”. With more than $800 million in the bank, “it could provide solutions to the terrible housing crisis”.

While renters suffer, Evans said council is offering no resistance to investors’ “highway robbery” against mostly young renters.

“While state and federal governments have more money and clout and could solve the housing crisis, the City of Sydney could also do much more.

“It could stop NSW Labor from demolishing public housing estates and ensure that public dwellings are not left empty.”

Evans said Wentworth Park in Glebe had long become “home” for homeless people living under the shelter. Meanwhile, the nearby Wentworth Park Road public housing estate, with 17 homes and apartments, stands empty after being forcibly vacated.

“Labor is considering using the site as an emergency shelter. However, nothing has happened as yet.”

Waterloo housing resident Karyn Brown, who is on the ticket, told GL that at least 260 people suffer homelessness every night in the City of Sydney.

Brown, another Action for Public Housing activist, said that council should “force the state government to fill the empty dwellings”.

She suggested council could sharply lift rates on landlords who raise rents in a two-year period, and offer a rent freeze to suffering renters.

“Despite its wealth, council has only imposed a measly 3% development levy for a housing fund on corporate building developments.

“That should be raised to 30% so that council can buy and run housing co-operatives and public housing. This would help drive down costs.”

Candidate Andrew Chuter said that council can deliver on housing, pointing to a world-first trans women’s housing cooperative of seven former council-owned terraces.

Chuter, a math teacher at the University of Sydney, has been a leading activist for many years with Friends of Erskineville.

“Council has announced the sale of two properties in Potts Point to the B Miles Women’s Foundation for housing for women with complex needs.

“These programs could be expanded and, with $100 million coming in every year to the City of Sydney, it is very doable.”

Coral Wynter, a long-term socialist, said council needs to act quickly on environmental problems, such as cleaning up the deadly asbestos.

Asbestos was discovered across 23 of the city’s parks in February. But the clean-up has only just started. So far, only eight have had the deadly material removed.

The team is campaigning for council to take an anti-war stand on global issues, such as Israel’s war on Palestine and Russia’s war on Ukraine.

Candidate Adam Haddad, a migrant from Algeria, wants council to support a motion to boycott and divest from Israel.

“Dozens of local councils across Ireland, Spain, Norway and Britain have passed such motions. Council must break all ties with Israel and ensure it discloses and divests from the Israeli war machine.”

Candidate Suelin McCauley, an early childhood educator, wants council to raise wages for low-paid workers in its early childcare education centres.

“Council should bring back the majority of centres it has contracted out to ensure workers receive better wages and conditions.”

[For more information call Rachel on 0403 517 266 and get involved.]

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