Monday, 29 February 2016

Forced Council mergers are a breach of faith - what about their poor behaviour in parliament

I spoke out in parliament against the dishonest and shoddy process of forced Council mergers being undertaken by the NSW Liberal Government.

This process is a breach of faith with the people of NSW and a betrayal of everyone who believed the Liberal Party and National Party who promised in writing there would be no forced amalgamations. No wonder people are disillusioned with politicians like Mike Baird who is just like Tony Abbott. Written promises by the Liberals mean nothing.

Just have a look in parliament at the behaviour of the Liberal/National government members in the House. Their behaviour says it all.

Government cuts to the public service have left it a shell of its former self

More cuts to the NSW public service by the Liberals in NSW. For 30 years I have witnessed the long term degradation of the public service through endless cuts robbing the public service of their talent and expertise to such an extent that can't replace a toilet roll without a consultants report and outsourcing the responsibility to the private sector.

It might be a tongue in cheek remark, but the structural decay of the public service, owing largely to successive and deep cuts and 'efficiencies' in the bureaucracy, has meant that the expertise and knowledge that Government's rely on to execute their agenda has been slowly whittled away, to the point that departments are forced to outsource to consultants and private contractors because they simply lack the knowledge and manpower to do their jobs.

Projects like WestConnex, the Light Rail and the Metro should be part of a long-term carefully developed plan for the future of NSW, not the result of outsourcing to the private sector. This loss of expertise in the public service has meant that the private sector are deciding the projects they want to build and where they want to build them which depend upon profit, not good public policy

The public service, often maligned by portions of the media and public figures, are essential to the ongoing operation and stability of the government of the State. They are the Government's expertise and we can't afford to keeping cutting the State's experts from our departments. I made some observations in parliament in relation to this just last week. See what you think.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Waterloo Metro Station in the wrong place - ridiculous

The NSW Liberal Government’s newly announced location for the proposed Sydney Metro railway station at Waterloo as ‘short-sighted’, and demonstrates complete lack on insight on to how to solve Sydney's Transport problems.

The proposed site for the new Sydney Metro railway station will be built underground between Botany Road and Cope Street, south of Raglan Street. It showns again the Baird Government is running blind when it comes to providing public transport infrastructure for Sydney and the commuting public.

Why you would place a railway station just 10 minutes’ walk north of Redfern Railway Station and 10 minutes’ walk south of Green Square Railway Station is beyond me?

The proposed location is also within 100 metres of a bus stop located on Botany Road that service commuters with direct runs to and from Central and other city centres.

The underground Metro station would be better placed around the vicinity of Danks Street and Crystal Street, Waterloo, where the influx of thousands of new residents in high density apartments have meant current bus services do not have the capacity to  meet demand.

Tens of thousands of new residents have moved into the vicinity of Danks Street, Bourke Street and Crystal Street. I am inundated with calls from residents living around the Bourke Street and Dank Street precincts for more bus services because they are tired of having to fight for a spot on a bus each morning.

Placing the Sydney Metro railway station around the Danks Street and Crystal Street precinct would provide residents with much needed public transport options and remove cars from gridlocked street.

Danks Street and Crystal Street is also a short 10 minute walk from East Village, Zetland, where fifty thousand of new residents are slated to move in, again with limited options for public transport.

The Ministers making these decisions haven’t taken the time to look at what the community needs and have got it wrong again.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Government Must Extend Auditor General’s Powers to Social Housing

The NSW Auditor General’s Power to be extended to maintain confidence in Social Housing. The Auditor General does not currently have the power to investigate whether the public is receiving value for money where the NSW Liberal Government has divested public sector assets and/or contracting services.

With the expectation that a significant stock of public housing assets will be transferred to non-government organisations it is essential that the Government acts now to ensure the public maintains full confidence in our social housing programs.

The independent office of the Auditor General should have its powers of investigation extended to permit the financial and performance audit of any private sector or not-for-profit organisation which has been the beneficiary of a government asset or contract.

The Audit Office has long argued for this extension of powers across various submissions to the NSW Government.

The problem is we don’t know if taxpayers are seeing any value for money. The NSW Government hasn’t undertaken a proper cost-benefit or performance review to determine if transferring the operation of public housing to private operators is effective. 

I’m not totally opposed to extending contracts, when it can be shown to to of benefit, to private and not-for-profit operators, but the public and the Parliament have a right to know the facts. It’s imperative that the public maintains confidence in social housing and the Government should act immediately to give the Auditor General the scope needed to properly relay this information to the Parliament.”