Jim McIlroy

Contractors for the controversial $18 billion WestConnex tollway project dismantled their Sydney Park construction compound on Euston Road, St Peters, on October 14, following a major community campaign to stop the works.

Residents had mounted a 24-hour-a-day camp beside the site from September 19 after receiving notification that construction, including destruction of trees, would start that day.

The NSW government is preparing to sell off the NSW land titles registry, the Land and Property Information (LPI) office, in a move dubbed by one economics commentator as “another dumb privatisation”.

Local and overseas banks, insurance companies and superannuation funds are said to be among potential buyers of the registry, which is expected to fetch more than $700 million.

Pauline Pantsdown was the highlight act of the Green Left Weekly Sydney Comedy Night at the Leichhardt Town Hall on October 8.

More than 300 people packed into the hall to see her perform her famous songs Backdoor Man and I Don’t Like it to huge applause.

Other comedians who delighted the crowd included: Kirsty Mac, Suren Jayemanne, Carlo Sands and Peter Green. The night, with the theme of “Halal Certified Comedy: Please Explain?” was MCed by Helchild.

Australia's Big Four banks — the Commonwealth, NAB, ANZ and Westpac — are the most concentrated and profitable set of banks in the world. These mega-banks are cutting their workforces, while paying their executives huge salaries and bonuses. They should be placed in public hands.

The federal government's much-vaunted parliamentary inquiry into the banking system was correctly called "a farce" by Labor MP Pat Conroy on October 4, the first day of a three-day hearing in Canberra. Conroy said: "I have two days of questions here" but no time to ask them.

The inquiry was an attempt by the government to deflect growing calls for a royal commission into the banking system.

The battle over the controversial $18 billion WestConnex tollway project through the inner-western suburbs is heating up.

The Sydney Motorway Corporation has been granted conditional approval by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment to commence work in Sydney Park, meaning dozens of trees are set for removal.

Police dragged local residents out of a Sydney Park protest camp at 3am on September 20 so WestConnex contractors working for the private Sydney Motorway Corporation (SMC) could set up a construction site and begin work destroying thousands of trees in the park.

WestCONnex Action Group spokesperson Colin Hesse said: “The police had assured us numerous times that we were camping lawfully on public land, therefore they wouldn’t be taking any action to remove us from the site.

Some of Australia’s most respected investigative journalists have signed an open letter to the federal government urging it not to privatise the corporate registry held by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). They have urged the government to make access to the database free, as it is in New Zealand and Britain.

More than 1000 people marched through Circular Quay to The Rocks on September 17 to protest plans by the NSW state government to demolish the iconic Sirius public housing building. The march coincided with the declaration of a Green Ban by the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU).

CFMEU state secretary Brad Parker announced that the union was "officially imposing an interim Green Ban here today" on the site. The ban on any redevelopment of the Sirius means no unionised workforce will be allowed on the site, and pickets will be introduced when any work commences.

Several hundred members of the NSW Public Service Association (PSA), the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association (NSWNMA), and other unions rallied outside state parliament on September 21 to “Stop the Secret Sell-Off” of five NSW public hospitals and other services by the Mike Baird state government. The rally followed the revelation on September 15 of plans by the Coalition government to call for private tenders to build and run upgraded regional hospitals at Maitland, Wyong, Goulburn and Shellharbour, and carry out hospital improvements at Bowral.


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