The Greens candidate for Newcastle, John Sutton, today signed the five point “Better Services Agreement” developed by Unions NSW, pledging support for a strong public sector, public ownership of public assets, better long term planning for services and infrastructure, workers rights, and government for the common good.
Mr Sutton was the first Greens candidate in NSW to sign the agreement, at a Unions NSW launch outside Newcastle Trades Hall Council at lunchtime today.
In signing the agreement, Mr Sutton congratulated Unions NSW for the campaign, and said he expected that all Greens candidates who had the opportunity to sign the Agreement in the run-up to the March state election would do so.
“The Greens see the principles behind the commitments in this agreement as fundamental to a healthy, democratic civil society.
“People in Newcastle and the Hunter know what it means to have to fight for adequate services and infrastructure, and for governance for the common good.
“Under successive Labor and Coalition governments, our community has suffered through decades of struggles over the privatisation of institutions and services such as the State Bank, GIO, the TAB, FreightCorp, electricity, prisons, and the NSW Lotteries.
“Unfortunately, the community can tick off precious few wins in that list.
“To their great credit, our local community won a long fight to stave off the privatisation of the Wallsend Aged Care facility by the current Labor government.
“Many of our public buildings and lands have been sold off or commercialised. Who can forget the sudden whim to privatise the Newcastle bus depot by the NSW Premier, John Fahey, in the ‘90s. And today, we have the former Royal Newcastle site as a sad recent example that this kind of threat to public land is still current, under both Labor and Coalition governments.
“Right now, the Labor government is pushing a major plan to privatise public assets along Newcastle’s coast, under the guise of a coastal ‘revitalisation’ strategy.
“After the March election, we face the prospect of government under the Coalition, which has already made rumblings about privatising Sydney Ferries (raising the obvious question of what would happen to our own Stockton ferry) and Sydney’s desalination plant (again raising obvious questions for the Hunter, given the local debate about desalination in the wake of the Tillegra Dam decision).
“The Better Services campaign provides an excellent opportunity to focus public attention on such issues as we approach the March state election, and I’m proud to be such an early signatory to it,” Mr Sutton said.
For further information or comment, please contact John Sutton (Greens candidate for Newcastle), on 4969 2668 or 0411 154 004.