Socialist candidates: for stronger, greener communities

The Socialist Alliance will stand two candidates for the City of Maribyrnong in the November council elections, on a platform of "community and environment before developers' profits".

Margarita Windisch, standing in Wattle Ward, is committed to fighting for a better deal for residents, including more state funding for services such as child care and public housing. She also calls for a rates system based on ability to pay rather than house value that has been inflated by mortgage lending and speculators.

"Maribyrnong encompasses some of the poorest suburbs in Melbourne", Windisch told Green Left Weekly. "We have high unemployment, a housing shortage and crumbling infrastructure, yet pay higher rates than million-dollar suburbs like Kew."

Windisch has a background in social work and wants to see issues such as substance abuse in the community dealt with in a harm-minimisation framework rather than through more policing.

She also wants the council to show solidarity with East Timor by becoming a "sister city" with a community in East Timor, as well as support the international boycott of companies such as Caterpillar and Connex, whose products are used in the genocide against the Palestinians.

Stuart Martin, standing in Stony Creek Ward, is active in a variety of local campaigns including for greater safety of residents living near chemical industries and against the proposed East-West freeway link.

"Residents are crying out for better public transport — trains and buses that come frequently, on time and actually connect to each other. The East-West freeway link will mean more traffic congestion, pollution, greenhouse emissions and will waste billions in taxpayer money", Martin told GLW.

"The council needs to stand up to the state government against projects like the new coal-fired power plant and desalination plant. They will wreak havoc on the environment, and raise costs to the community. The desalination plant is likely to see water costs rise by up to 500%", he said.

While the Socialist Alliance fully supports the council target to reduce greenhouse emissions to zero by 2020, more concrete measures will have to be put in place if the target is to be met. "The council can't just rely on educating business and the community, we need action like green power production, funding for household rainwater tanks and solar hot water heating, better bike paths, public transport and community gardens", Martin said.

Martin is a member of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union and plans to campaign to make Maribyrnong an "AWA- [individual contract] free zone". "The local council should not be using companies that force workers onto individual contracts", he said.

The Socialist Alliance will be launching its election campaign with food, drinks and live music from 6.30pm on October 4 at the Old Church Hall, 10a Hyde St, Footscray. For more information, phone (03) 9639 8622.