The Socialist Alliance NSW released the statement below on August 9.
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The Socialist Alliance (SA) has announced its candidates for the Woodville ward of Parramatta City Council, citing public transport, better community services and opposition to racism as its three key campaign issues.
Under the banners "Community need, not developer greed" and "For a Community Council" SA will stand local community activists John Coleman, Kerryn Williams and Ross Geary.
As a passionate public transport advocate, rail worker and union activist with the Rail Tram and Bus Union, Coleman said commuter issues would be a central concern of his campaign.
“Public transport is a public service and must therefore be run for the community, not for corporate profit,” said Coleman.
“That’s why we are campaigning for greater government funding for public transport in the western suburbs and against any further privatisations, such as the proposed sell-off of the Parramatta-Liverpool transit way.
“We are also campaigning for Parramatta Council to fund a three-month trial of free train trips to and from Parramatta city stations. If it is proven that local residents prefer public transport, Socialist Alliance councillors will push for permanent state and local government funding for free trains.”
Williams, a mother of two and a women’s rights activist, said: “Residents in Parramatta have been hit hard by the NSW Liberal government's cost cutting. There has been a big increase in preschool fees. Parramatta Council should oppose the cuts, and stand up for the rights of working people in our community.
“Socialist Alliance councillors will push for free, community based childcare services and an expansion of community support services, including good quality services for the disabled and elderly.”
“This could easily be paid for by increasing the rates paid by Westfield shopping centre and reducing rates paid by residents and small businesses, thereby also alleviating the rising cost of living for local residents.”
Geary has campaigned most of his life for human rights, firstly in Colombia and then Australia, after arriving here as a political refugee. A member of the Parramatta ALP branch until 2010, when he decided to join the Socialist Alliance, Geary cited Labor’s racism as key reason for leaving.
“Socialist Alliance rejects the media lies and the Labor and Liberal parties’ demonisation of migrants and refugees. Migrants and refugees are a vital part of our community.
“As such, we believe Parramatta Council should be campaigning to close the nearby Villawood detention centre and reopening it as a hostel for migrants and refugees. There should also be increased funding for migrant support services, free English-language classes, and training and employment services.”