Sydney

The following article is excerpted from a speech Rachel Evans gave at a vigil in Sydney to commemorate the first anniversary of the Orlando massacre in the US.

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I look into the crowd and see our diverse community. I see that we are creative, expressive people. I see that we are loved and that we love. I see our LGBTIQA community and I see our straight allies. I see that we are not white, that we are non-gender binary. I see our sadness, feel our loss.

The proposed sale by Australia Post of Sydney's historic GPO building to private business is "scandalous" and puts the complex at risk of neglect, according to the head of the National Trust NSW (NTNSW).

Architect and NTNSW branch president Clive Lucas, who specialises in restoring historic buildings, said the GPO was one of, if not the most, important colonial post offices in the country.

The City of Sydney has put forward an alternative proposal for the controversial $17 billion WestConnex tollway project.

Based on the original design for the motorway project, the alternative proposal offers a more direct motorway route to Port Botany and Sydney Airport for traffic from the west of the city.

The City of Sydney claims this alternative model will reduce congestion and remove the need for expensive tolls, while saving the NSW taxpayers billions of dollars.

The NSW Department of Planning & Environment admitted on June 7 that it had been inundated with more than 23,000 mostly oppositional submissions to corporate giant Santos’ plan for a gas field in the Pilliga region in north-western NSW.

The department has now totalled the figures: more than 18,000 “form submissions” were sent in — meaning that many people took advantage of anti-fracking groups’ efforts to broaden the anti-gas campaign, by signing a form and adding their personal view to a statement of concern.

On the evening of May 22, more than 300 residents packed out Balmain Town Hall for a public meeting on the NSW Liberal government's proposed Western Harbour Tunnel toll road. This proposed 6km tunnel will connect to the fiercely contested WestConnex tunnel interchange in Rozelle going under the Balmain peninsula, then under Sydney Harbour before connecting to the Warringah Freeway.

The meeting was called by NSW Greens Balmain MP Jamie Parker who condemned the project as "yet another polluting, destructive, private tollway."

Bus drivers across Sydney implemented a "fare-free day" on June 1 as part of their campaign of industrial action against the NSW government's plan to privatise buses in the inner west. Drivers from 12 depots around the city turned off their Opal Card machines and wore plain clothes to draw the attention of passengers to the threat to public bus services.

In a recent public discussion, campaigners against WestConnex — the huge motorway and tunnel project in Sydney — were challenged to sum up their case against WestConnex in three sentences. “Start with what the proponents of WestConnex say will be the benefit of the project then say what is wrong with it.”

There were half a dozen seasoned anti-WestConnex activists in the room and each came back with much more than three sentences.

Rosie Scott, the well-known writer and human rights supporter, died on May 4, after a long battle with cancer. Born in Wellington, New Zealand, in 1948, she was the author of seven books of fiction, beginning with the collection of poetry, Flesh and Blood, in 1984.

In 1988, she published her first novel, Glory Days, which depicted the lives of Auckland social fringe-dwellers. The last of her seven works was Faith Singer, published in 2003, which explored the tumultuous world of the people who dwelt in Sydney's Kings Cross.

Sydney bus drivers walked out on May 18 in a 24-hour strike against plans by the NSW Coalition government to privatise public bus services in the city’s inner-west.

The action, which defied the NSW Industrial Relations Commission (IRC), affected four bus depots: Leichhardt, Burwood, Kingsgrove and Tempe.

Just two weeks ago, four young Muslim women wearing hijabs were assaulted right in front of the University of Technology Sydney at about 1.30pm. They were punched, one after another, by a woman they had not spoken to or interacted with in any way.

One of the women, a young student at UTS, and a recent migrant, was punched in the face and fell to the ground bleeding. A staff member who witnessed the assaults rushed to her assistance and photographed the alleged assailant.

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