Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Tribute to Roger Dowsett

Roger Dowsett & Ron Hoenig MP
Recently in Parliament I paid tribute to Rodger Dowsett, who after 44 years of dedicated service is retiring from Botany Bay City Council as the Director of Planning and Assessment.

During my time as Mayor, Rodger was the builder for many of my ideas for our great city. He has overseen the transformation of our city and his dedication to this vision will benefit residents for generations to come.

It was an honour to be able to personally thank Rodger for his hard work over so many years and recognise how his contribution to the city of Botany Bay is so significant. I wish Rodger the very best on his retirement.

I have set out below in full what I told parliament.

Mr RON HOENIG (Heffron) [7.57 p.m.]: Today I pay tribute to Mr Rodger Dowsett who this month will retire from Botany Bay City Council as a director after 44 years of service. Mr Dowsett began his career as a junior health inspector in 1970 and leaves as the Director of Planning and Assessment. He has literally grown up at Botany Bay City Council. When I was elected as mayor in 1981 Mr Dowsett was a junior municipal health surveyor. He rose through the council's service from a health and building inspector to manager of those services and then to director of planning. His elevation over the years has been due to his immense talent, ability, integrity and hard work. 

Planning is perhaps the major local government function that can impact upon a council area for a century. The transformation of the city of Botany Bay from a land of stinking tanneries, polluting toxic industries and hazardous industries to the greenery of the suburbs that I left on departing the office of mayor in 2012 was attributable to planning policy. I might have been the architect of that planning policy, but Rodger Dowsett was the builder. As the builder Mr Dowsett has overseen the city's transformation from poor-quality industrial to high-quality residential development. One example of many is the transformation of areas such as William Street, Botany, from warehousing and semi-trailers to quality townhouses, villas, federation housing and a leafy environment, which is a remarkable example of what planning policy can achieve.

The transformation of the Mascot station precinct from an old industrial space into a well-designed, high-quality and high-density living area is also remarkable and can be attributed to Mr Dowsett's remarkable effecting of planning policy. In my 30 years as mayor, success in implementing these massive changes involved consultation with and the support of the community, which can only occur through genuine consultation. You cannot achieve significant change without taking the community along with you. It was Mr Dowsett who introduced community consultation committees to ensure that the council took the community with them in relation to the continued changes in the City of Botany Bay as it moved from an industrial area to residential development.

As if Mr Dowsett's contribution to planning and the environment were not enough, during my time as mayor I constantly restructured the council's activities to allocate even greater responsibility to Mr Dowsett. I needed Mr Dowsett's dedication and capacity to succeed on behalf of the community. I provided him initially with responsibility for outdoor staff and then parks and gardens and then asked him to implement significant sporting and community infrastructure. Hensley Athletic Field is a testament to Mr Dowsett's vision. With a Federal grant, an archaic athletic field was transformed into a modern athletics facility with synthetic grass soccer fields. It provides endless sporting opportunities for the community. Hensley Athletic Field will remain for future generations a monument to Mr Dowsett's achievement, particularly for junior athletics and football in the City of Botany Bay.

Council's then general manager constantly warned me that I was overloading Mr Dowsett. However, upon my inquiries Mr Dowsett refused to indicate that he was overloaded or overburdened, such was his commitment and dedication to the council. He leaves the council's service as one of the most professional and competent planners I have ever come across. He also leaves council as a dear friend to many of the City of Botany Bay Council staff, who greatly admire and respect him on both a personal and a professional level. Roger Dowsett is a planner, building inspector and dedicated director who is passionate about his work and takes the quality of his work very seriously. He leaves the service of the council knowing that most of his life has been dedicated to significantly improving the lives of the city's citizens in every capacity and in every way. I wish him, his wife, his two daughters and his grandchildren well upon his retirement. On behalf of the Parliament of New South Wales, I thank Mr Dowsett for his immense contribution to the City of Botany Bay.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Tribute to Socceroo Massimo Luongo

This month in parliament I was able to pay tribute to Massimo Luongo, a young local Heffron resident from Waterloo, who was selected as a member of the Socceroo's squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

I have known Massimo and his family since he was a young boy playing football on local parks with my kids. Now having represented his country, and recently scoring for Swindon Town on the opening weekend of the English Football League season we all hope to see great things from this very talented midfielder.

Mass is a great model for young footballers. It shows young children that it is not just talent. It is dedication. It is hard work. It is perseverance, and it is sacrifice by an entire family.

Mass, I know has brought great pride to his family, his local community and his nation. Hansard containing what I said in parliament is here:

Monday, 18 August 2014

Rest in peace Manny (Emanuel) Tsardoulias

Saturday the Marrickville Community lost its champion, the Labor Party lost one of its local heroes, and I lost a loyal friend.

Cr Emanuel Tsardoulias or Manny as he was known to many of us has been seriously ill in recent times. He has served the Marrickville community with distinction as a councillor and Deputy Mayor. I knew him well from my local government days and served with him at the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils and the Local Government Association.

Manny was a warm, generous, loyal and dedicated human being. I will miss him. The Labor Party will miss him and his community will miss him. I extend to Manny's family, his wife and two children my deepest sympathy. Vale Cr Emanuel Tsardoulias.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Botany Historical Trust - An evening with Bob Carr

Anne Slattery, Bob Carr, Ron Hoenig MP Matt Thistlethwaite MP, Mayor Ben Kenneally
I was delighted to attend the Botany Historical Trust's "Commemorating the Centenary of the Outbreak of World War I" to listen to such an impressive keynote address by Bob Carr.

I was delighted to joint with Matt Thistlethwaite MP, Mayor Ben Keneally, Botany Bay City councillors, Her Honour Magistrate Jacquie Milledge, Anne Slattery the Trust President, Trust members and residents. Lest We Forget.

"Gonski" is not just a name

"Gonski" is not just a name. It is not just politics. It is about children and their future. It is about secure funding to make sure children do not miss out and get the helping hand they need at times. Children are not "economic units". Children are not widgets. It is something that the Liberals just don't understand.Reading attached brochure really brings it home to you.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Electricity privatisation to hit Western Sydney Residents' power bills

Ron Hoenig MP with Labor's Prue Car (centered)  with local residents
The Labor Candidate for Londonderry Prue Car and I have today warned that families in Western Sydney will face rising power bills under Mike Baird’s plans to privatise our state’s electricity poles and wires.

Talking to local residents when visiting Claremont Meadows today with Labor's quality candidate for Londonderry Prue Car, I reminded Family electricity bills will skyrocket if the Liberals sell our state’s electricity network, and the state will lose over $1 billion each year as a result of the sale - money that is currently invested in infrastructure, hospitals, schools and emergency services.

Families in Western Sydney and across the state are already struggling due to cost of living increases under the Liberals – they simply can’t afford to pay more for electricity.

Make no mistake: Mike "the Merchant Banker" Baird’s plan to privatise our electricity network will hurt working families. Power prices will rise.

“If the Liberals think they can fool the people of NSW, they are plain wrong – everyone knows that no private company is going to spend billions of dollars buying the electricity network to lower electricity prices.

When the Liberals privatised electricity in South Australia, they promised lower energy bills – and now South Australia has the highest electricity prices in the country.

In a double whammy, from 1 July this year, electricity providers were also no longer subject to a cap on prices – as the Baird Liberal Government has removed the maximum amount retail electricity providers can charge.
Already power bills have risen by 42.6 per cent thanks to this Liberal government – and now power companies are free to charge whatever they like.

The Liberals say removing the power price cap will increase competition and drive prices down – but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The reality is regulation and price caps exist to protect consumers from power companies charging whatever they want.

Labor Candidate for Londonderry Prue Car said: “If Mike Baird thinks he can fool our community, he is wrong – a cap exists to limit the price a company can charge. Remove that cap, and there’s only one way electricity prices will go and that’s up.

“The last thing locals need is higher bills for essential utilities like power – but if our electricity poles and wires are sold off, everyone will pay more just to keep the heat on in winter.

“If our poles and wires are sold off, we’ll also lose the $1 billion that’s reinvested in infrastructure, teachers, nurses and police – yet Mike Baird hasn’t told us how he’ll replace that funding,” Ms Car said.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Toxic substances at Orica plant in Botany must be removed

The Southern Courier today published on its website today a story entitled "Heffron State MP Ron Hoenig says toxic substances at Orica plant in Botany must be removed" by Torin Chen and AAP. The article is here.

"With the French Environment Minister rebuffing Australia’s last move to export the world’s largest shipment of HCB, we must stand strong on efforts to rid Botany of this toxic legacy, Heffron State Labor MP Ron Hoenig says.

Mr Hoenig told the Southern Courier that Orica’s stockpile of HCB substance should be removed from Botany Bay and the only suitable place for the toxic waste to be destroyed was in Europe.

“This heinous HCB substance on the Orica site needs to be destroyed by world’s best practice, which is only available in Europe,” he said.

“There is no facility in Australia and no prospect of there being a facility in Australia for the next 10 years that can destroy this waste.

“It is dangerous and it must be removed from the foreshores of Botany Bay.’’