#Occupy Tallawarra

This is what Community Democracy looks like.

This afternoon, members of CRED and Illawarra Bicycle Users Group (IBUG) net with Ward Three Councillors Chris Connor, Ann Martin and Vicki Curran (where’s Bede Crasnich?).

Tallawarra Community Consultation

Tallawarra Community Consultation

Residents outlined their concerns about TRU Energy’s Concept Plan for the Tallawarra site. Their main concern is what appears to be a sneaky attempt to shift the focus for these lands from employment lands to expensive residential. Other concerns included attempts minimise responsibility and shift costs from the developer to the community. If today’s meeting is any guide, it appears our newly elected councillors have not been fooled. In a major turnaround, council is critical of the Concept Plan and is lodging its own objection which supports claims made previously by CRED.

Cr Ann Martin highlighted that given the Council objection, that if 25 or more resident objections are recieved, the proposal will be determined by the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC)

CRED urges all concerned residents to make an objection, no matter how brief using the online form at http://majorprojects.planning.nsw.gov.au/index.pl?action=view_job&job_id=3362

More information on how to make a submission and ideas for objections are available here.


How to make a submission

Use the form at http://majorprojects.planning.nsw.gov.au/index.pl?action=view_job&job_id=3362

See some of our concerns  at  https://eastdapto.wordpress.com/2011/10/28/concerns-about-tallawarra/– I suggest you focus on the message “Employment Lands” – no residential until the employment lands are developed – otherwise you will just make Illawarra’s unemployment rate worse.

Concerns about Tallawarra

This afternoon several CRED members are meeting with the Ward Three Councillors. I will be raising these concerns with them:

Tallawarra – What’s the TRUth?

  • Summary states there are “No impediments” to development (I can see several), specifically for the “employment lands”.
  • Projected jobs do not outweigh population increase (these are “employment lands”) – thus this development will increase unemployment.
  • Endangered Ecological Communities are threatened and there is marked degradation caused by TRU’s involvement from the 2000 LEP assessment to now. How did this happen?
  • The employment strategy relies on the insane notion of “matching” residents to employment in the development (debunked by UOW Academic Scott Burrows).
  • Visual/scenic aspects are noted but not demonstrated (i.e. preserve ridgeline). The location of housing with 9m building heights seems to indicate the ridgeline and visual character will be obscured, except for surrounding high locations like Lake Heights/Mt Warrigal. Where’s the geometric modelling?
  • Report states “Staging is not definite” however TRU have stated in CLG meetings they intend to develop the Northern Residential precinct first then other areas “as able”.
  • The “Employment Lands” are on contaminated, Geotechnically challenging sections, thus unlikely to ever be developed.
  • Noise and the “red light disco” dictate hermetically sealed, air conditioned boxes. What are the lifestyle and energy impacts?
  • Water quality implications: The Northern precinct discharges stormwater direct to lake + sewerage uses “controlled release” due to capacity restraints. How will this affect Lake Illawarra?
  • TRU are seeking to minimise development contributions arguing services will be supplied by the adjoining areas.


Also –

  • Why do TRU refuse to release the Community Survey about preferred use of Tallawarra Lands?
  • Why have alternative, environmentally friendly options not even been considered? (i.e. Carbon sink, biobank, agricultural reserve etc)

TRU have been running a spectacular PR exercise on this from Day 1 while controlling the process, free from oversight. Don’t be fooled. Look very closely at this proposal. While promising “jobs and homes” – the net effect is likely to be:

  • Most of the residential precincts will be developed, a small amount of employment area will proceed with a significant amount indefinitely deferred or abandoned due to constraints.
  • A greater increase in population than sustainable jobs.
  • Unaffordable housing
  • Loss of an environmental asset
  • A net drain on the Illawarra’s economy.

So to our elected representatives:

Ask the hard questions and do whatever it takes to get this right.

At the very least – insist the employment lands are developed first.

Ken Davis – 042 525 4680

Occupy East Dapto

CRED invites all residents of East Dapto to get informed and get involved in the coming Occupy Sydney meeting at Martin Place on October 15. Concerned citizens will rally at 2:30 and begin the process of shaping the vision for a different Australia. So why bother? Will it make a difference? What has this got to do with our community?

Firstly, this is not just a support or sympathy rally for Occupy Wall Street – even though the events of Wall Street do directly impact our daily lives. Occupy Sydney is one of several rallies nationwide to address Australia’s concerns. Our situation is not as dire as America at present, thanks to the mining boom and modest levels of national debt. Yet we share the same structural unfairness that locks 99% of Australians out of the game. Consider our local issues.

We have already lost ownership of the once publically owned Tallawarra Lands to a subsidiary of China Light and Power. The land was sold well below market price by the corrupt Bob Carr government in 1997. Now I’m sure you would like some bargain basement real estate with lake views? So how come a foreign company gets the chance that we don’t? Could it be that they are the 1% and we are the 99%?

When the development was proposed, a consultant to TRUEnergy conducted a community survey. The scope of the survey was to discover the community’s attitude towards the proposed development and preferred use for the land. Several times I have asked to see the results of this community survey. As an affected resident, I was refused because apparently community opinion is “commercial in confidence?” When did community opinion become a trade secret? How could this happen? Could it be that they are the 1% and we are the 99%?

Consider our pool? Once we had free access. Maintenance and staffing was covered by rates and even the poorest of the poor could take their kids for a free, fun day out. What happened? Already struggling, the cost of heating the pool was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Why don’t rates cover the cost of providing community services? Why does the State Government not adequately fund our community? Could it be that they are the 1% and we are the 99%.

What about the problems of social disadvantage, poor education outcomes, vandalism and crime? Why aren’t Australia’s wealthiest companies and citizens making a big enough contribution to adequately provide the prevention, education and social services to adequately improve the lot of our disadvantaged people? After all – our natural resources belong to all of us. Surely a compassionate and progressive society like Australia that values a fair go would do what it takes to fix this? Isn’t THAT the ANZAC spirit? Yet when the Federal Government proposed a Super Profits Tax, the 1% spent millions on advertising to defend their greed! Our Government dared not to even contemplate a tax on Bank Super Profits. Maybe it’s because they are the 1% and we are the 99%?

In these wildly prosperous times, why do such a large proportion of us have no job at all, not enough hours or a full-time job that still leaves us struggling to pay rent, food, water and electricity? Is it because they are the 1% and we are the 99%?

So if you think this is just about the USA or Sydney – think again. The actions of the wealthiest 1% directly affect your life, your dreams and your prospects. You have already seen their impact on electricity, water, rent and housing costs. If you have a job, you have already seen the demands for endless productivity gains when you are already working at full capacity. So what are you going to do? This is not just about protesting. The “Occupy” movement needs your voice, your heart, your ideas – or simply to know that you want to see a fairer world, country and community. Find out more at http://www.occupytogether.org/ I hope to see you at Martin Place – or on the wonderful 2 hour train ride to the City.


Recently I made some controversial comments about growth in the Illawarra. I need to be clear that these are my opinions and not those of CRED as an organisation. For those interested in reading more on the topic, a new film, Growthbusters is due for release in October this year. I am hoping to arrange a screening in Dapto. To learn more about Growthbusters – visit here.

Under Threat

Developers and Councils are planning 17,000 new homes as well as industry and commercial development on the western foreshores and hinterland of Lake Illawarra. Lake Illawarra Authority chairman Doug Prosser says that the threat to our Lake has never been greater. This would have to be the understatement of the decade. Increased stormwater runoff, rubbish and sewerage overflow cannot possibly be healthy for the lake. But it’s not just the lake. What impact will this have on traffic, employment, air pollution, noise, social equity, access to services and quality of life? I’d like to think that developers and council have our best interests at heart, but I’m afraid bitter experience proves otherwise.

These western Illawarra developments are a miniature representation of the “Big Australia” debate. How much of our natural beauty, limited resources and quality of life are we as a community willing to sacrifice? Simple maths tells us that exponential growth cannot continue on a planet or in a community with finite resources. Even astonishing technological advance will only delay the inevitable. Somewhere, sometime a line needs to be drawn. The only question is when we draw that line and what sort of living conditions we want from that time forward. We can make that decision proactively, or we can have it foisted upon us by famine, thirst and civil unrest. Recently we were only six months short of running out of water.

So Rod Oxley was right. Wollongong needs a vision (but not his). We need a vision of a low impact, sustainable future that delivers a reasonable quality of life to all the members of our community. We also need a way for communities to have a voice. This is not just to “have a say” but to actually shape the decisions which affect our lives. Communities have spoken about all these developments. However, as usual, all levels of Government have placed the economic benefit of a few above the wants and needs of the community. It’s not just the Lake, but our children’s future that is under an insidious threat.

Community Strategic Plan

This just in from the terminally ill NSW Government:

A new approach to planning and reporting

A new planning and reporting framework for NSW local government has been introduced. These reforms replace the former Management Plan and Social Plan with an integrated framework. It also includes a new requirement to prepare a long-term Community Strategic Plan and Resourcing Strategy. The essential elements of the new framework are outlined in these Guidelines. Guidance to assist councils to implement the new framework is explained in the supporting Planning and Reporting Manual.

The Community Strategic Plan

The Community Strategic Plan is the highest level plan that a council will prepare. The purpose of the plan is to identify the community’s main priorities and aspirations for the future and to plan strategies for achieving these goals. In doing this, the planning process will consider the issues and pressures that may affect the community and the level of resources that will realistically be available to achieve its aims and aspirations. While a council has a custodial role in initiating, preparing and maintaining the Community Strategic Plan on behalf of the local government area, it is not wholly responsible for its implementation. Other partners, such as State agencies and community groups may also be engaged in delivering the long-term objectives of the plan.

Community Strategic Plan

* Each local government area is to have a Community Strategic Plan that has been developed and endorsed by the council.
* The Community Strategic Plan is to identify the main priorities and aspirations for the future of the local government area.
* The Community Strategic Plan must cover a minimum timeframe of 10 years.
* The Community Strategic Plan must establish strategic objectives together with strategies to achieve those objectives.
* It must address social, environmental, economic and civic leadership issues in an integrated manner.
* Council must ensure the Community Strategic Plan is adequately informed by relevant information relating to social, environmental, economic and civic leadership issues.
* It must be based on the social justice principles of equity, access, participation and rights.
* The Community Strategic Plan must give due regard to the State Plan and other relevant state and regional plans.
Community Engagement
* Each council must prepare and implement a Community Engagement Strategy based on social justice principles for engagement with the local community in developing the Community Strategic Plan.

The Resourcing Strategy
The Community Strategic Plan provides a vehicle for expressing long-term community aspirations. However, these will not be achieved without sufficient resources – time, money, assets and people – to actually carry them out.
The Resourcing Strategy consists of three components:
* Long Term Financial Planning
* Workforce Management Planning
* Asset Management Planning.

The Resourcing Strategy is the point where Council assists the community by sorting out who is responsible for what, in terms of the issues identified in the Community Strategic Plan. Some issues will clearly be the responsibility of Council, some will be the responsibility of other levels of government and some will rely on input from community groups or individuals. The Resourcing Strategy focuses in detail on matters that are the responsibility of the council and looks generally at matters that are the responsibility of others.

for more information see: