Councillors

LOCAL GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVES

Cr Michael Osborne – Ward 1
Michael is the Greens Councillor on Newcastle City Council, an environmental engineer, a worker for social and environmental change and the coordinator of the Green Corridor Coalition, a coalition of more than 50 community groups dedicated to protecting biodiversity corridors in the Hunter.

Therese Doyle – Ward 2

Therese has recently retired from a long career as a Science teacher and educator where she encouraged students to engage in and critically analyse the world around them. Before moving to Newcastle with her family 10 years ago, Therese also served as a councillor from 1995-2000, and as Deputy Mayor in 2000 on Concord Council where she successfully worked to ensure that the local community had a real voice in proposed developments and that Council processes were transparent and accountable. As a Ward 2 representative in Newcastle she is working to create a city that will be a model of sustainable, community-oriented development.

Councillors’ Report for March 2013 

Michael’s opinion piece for The Newcastle Herald in December 2012 began with the sentence 2012 will be remembered as the “year the State Government sidelined the community”.  He lamented the production of yet another “glossy” document ( The Draft Renewal Strategy for Newcastle) that did not reflect the best interests of ratepayers.

Therese’s latest opinion piece for The Herald highlights major flaws and inconsistencies with the Draft Strategy and concludes with the sentence that the community “deserves to be heard with considerably more respect than has been so far accorded them in consultation meetings that have been held thus far”.

Looks like 2013 could be another repeat performance of the State Government sidelining the community.

Our Councillors are working closely with the membership’s Council Reference Group,  who have taken on board the task of addressing key aspects of the Draft Strategy for Newcastle Greens response to the document.

Taking up our Councillors’  time and extremely disturbing, is Newcastle City Council’s “cleaning house” proposed job cuts agenda which has been proposed without addressing the inefficiencies of Council’s onerous and expensive bureaucracy.

As Ben Smee from the Newcastle Herald noted “About half of the proposed redundancies come from the LiveableCity department, which is the area responsible for frontline services like filling potholes, mowing parkland and collecting garbage.  The council will find it difficult to sell the merits of a plan that affects things like “roads, rates and rubbish” without taking a meat axe to the city’s infamously fleshy bureaucracy”.

Once again Council’s community services are under attack with youth programs  and family services threatened.  Greens councillors will be insisting that all possible alternatives to jobs and service cuts are explored by senior council officers.

Looks like 2013 will be hard work for our Councillors to ensure fair representation and consideration of the community’s long term best interests.

Newcastle Greens Councillors Report 22nd November 2012

Now the general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought.  The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand.  Thus do many calculations lead to victory,  and few calculations to defeat;  how much more no calculations at all! (Chinese Art of War, Sun Tzu, sixth century BC) ……….

In light of our Mayor’s recent comments and approach to communicating with fellow Councillors,  we’ll have some challenging times ahead of us.

Only two months into our new term of operation, we are seeking answers to our questions regarding the integrity of the recruitment process when Josh Hodges, the “chosen” candidate of the Mayor,  has claimed  the position of “Chief of Staff” even before the close of advertising for the position.  The Independent Commission Against Corruption has warned Council of its responsibility to be transparent when making appointments and we need to remember this position doesn’t even exist under the Local Government Act.

Our councillor reports detail notice of motions presented to Council and their results (Happenings at Council)  Overall,  we had more ‘wins’.  Disappointingly, the culture of behind “closed” door decisions continues with no better example than the majority decision to consult with Incitec excluding resident groups representation.

Greens’ Notice of Motions before Council include extension of cycleways and review of Council’s urban forest policy.  We’re also working on Smart and Innovative City and Connected City policies for Newcastle.

As always, our thanks to the Council Reference Working Group for continued support and valued input from membership.

Notices of Motion Included:
Hunting in National Parks
Unnecessary Coal Trains Through Adamstown Level Crossing

Newcastle Greens Councillors Report to 14th August 2012

Highlights from the month were:

  • Having an opinion piece published on the call for a public Commission of Inquiry into the Port
  • Having an opinion piece published in response to right-way Labor attacks on the Greens
  • Meeting Fullerton Cove residents to discuss CSG concerns
  • Speaking at the Marriage Equality forum and rally
  • Having my motion successfully adopted that Council receive a report that compiles a table of all the workshops/briefings received by Councillors during this term of Council that have been closed to the public
  • Having my motion unanimously adopted for Council to work together with the State and Federal Government departments to extend the boundary of the Hunter Estuary Wetlands Ramsar Site to include all the wetlands in the Hunter Estuary, including all of Hexham Swamp, Pambalong Swamp, Tomago Wetlands, Ash Island, the Hunter Wetlands National Park and the wetlands of Fullerton Cove.

Newcastle Greens Councilors Report – 30 July 2012

As well as presenting Notice of Motions to Council this week regarding –

  • Street lighting (Did you know that in 1995 the State government took control of street lighting but have now left Councils in the inequitable situation of having to pay for maintenance and replacement – BUT – with no control over management?  Councils need the ability to choose an electricity provider, efficiency of bulbs used, determine the standards under which service and maintenance takes place)
  • Extending the Boundaries of our RAMSAR Listed Hunter Estuary Wetlands to include all the wetlands in the Hunter estuary,  (download) and
  • Opening the doors to the public of Council’s “secret” meetings (download)

The Port Forum Working Group has been busy as well.  Senator Christine Milne, Leader of The Greens,  will meet with community representatives to hear first hand of their issues to do with contentious and potentially dangerous developments planned for the Port.  Enquiries about the Forum should be directed to Megan at megabens@gmail.com

Newcastle Greens Councilors Report – 16 July 2012

Highlights from a very busy past month for me were:

  • Publication of opinion pieces in the Newcastle Herald on world environment day about the green economy and, most recently, responding to right-wing Labor attacks on the Greens
  • Meeting Fullerton Cove residents to discuss CSG concerns
  • Speaking at the “Refugees Are Welcome” rally
  • Having my motion unanimously supported expressing concern about CSG drilling in Fullerton Cove and insisting a moratorium on coal seam exploration within the Tomago Sandbeds until such time that the impact of CSG exploration and production is fully known.

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