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2015 NSW State Election

posted Mar 20, 2015, 11:15 PM by Sean Donovan
With the NSW State Election fast approaching it is time to ask our would-be representatives where they stand on key local social justice issues.

On the 28th March 2015, NSW electors will be required to vote for the 56th Parliament. In this election 93 candidates for the Legislative Assembly will be elected, and in the Legislative Council 21 of the 42 seats will be contested.


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THREE MAJOR ISSUES IDENTIFIED!

- SIMPLIFY TRANSPORT
- AFFORDABLE HOUSING
- COAL SEAM GAS

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SIMPLIFY TRANSPORT

Why do our trains have different stopping patterns?

This makes it difficult for regular commuters who have to carefully scan the scrolling list of stops. And it is just about impossible for visitors, those with reading difficulties, and others with disabilities to follow.

Trains routes should have fixed destinations along that route.

For example, trains to Campbelltown-Macarthur should stop Redfern, Sydenham, Revesby (the end of the all stations inner route), and then all stations. The return journey should be the same.

Similarly, some bus routes have different stopping patterns depending on time of day, night, or weekend. Why? Routes should be known and consistent so that they are easy to use and explain.

No major city has such a complicated system as Sydney.

It would be a simple administrative matter to fix the schedule of stops and cheap as there is no capital expenditure required.

Other transport issues to look at are:
- Airport Line: The gateway to Australia leaves a poor impression when visitors and business people are struggling to get onto crowded trains with their baggage, trying to manhandle their baggage often up and down stairs. The Airport line should have a dedicated fleet of single deck trains with easy access. These should shuttle between Wolli Creek and Central.
- Olympic Park: Again a major gateway for attractions, the spur line from Lidcombe is barely adequate, and the rolling stock unimpressive and slow to load and unload passengers. Lidcombe is poorly served on the train stopping schedule as many western trains pass through the station without stopping. Scheduling for Lidcombe can be improved, as mentioned above, and trains carriages that are better suited to the task should be purchased.
- Ticket Pricing: The pricing of tickets is equally complicated and unfathomable. While the Opal system has improved things a little, people can’t know the price of their travel before they reach their destination, so cannot know whether they have enough on their card to return or travel elsewhere. A simpler fee structure, say $2.50 for every trip, with an upper limit of $10 per day or $60 per week would help and be easy to implement.


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AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Housing price stress has long been an issue in Sydney but little practical progress has been made.

The factors affecting prices are complex, but two that need attention are foreign ownership and local "investment" properties.

Allowing foreign investment capital to build and then sell property is welcome, but non-resident ownership of property only has the effect of increasing competition for and cost of properties.

While there are limits on foreign ownership of pre-existing residences, this does little in practice to improve affordability as overheating of the new property market forces people to crowd the market for older houses. In any case, many existing residences are bull-dozed for new developments.

High prices of purchasing property inevitably flows on to rental prices.

There should be a limit on non-resident property ownership - Australian and Foreign - to ensure that residents have the opportunity to have affordable housing.


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COAL SEAM GAS

There are so many unknowns and potential problems regarding Coal Seam Gas production, especially near population centres and food production areas, to suggest that it should be stopped for the foreseeable future.

This will raise issues around gas availability and potentially prices in New South Wales.

The focus should be on reducing demand for gas, and energy usage in general, rather than increasing production.

Issues of housing design, peoples day-to-day practices, industrial use, and many others may need to change in the medium to long term.


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Resources/Links:
- Guide produced by NetAct may provide some talking points
- CLRI Watermark with some topics
- 2015 Election web site
- List of current MPs contact details


Areas that we are concerned with include:

- Affordable Housing
- Simplifying and Improving Transport
- Accessibility of Government Services and Support
  (particularly for those without computers, email and/or credit cards)
- Coal Seam Gas (CSG)
- Jobs and Opportunity
- Simplifying business entry for all and reducing the cost of doing business in NSW
- Health and well being
- Education and technical training

Do you have ideas for specific things that should be fixed?

Let us know by dropping an email to the secretary@msjn.org
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