The last month has seen Council sign off on its first budget, a renewed focus on waste management and a lifting of the controversial gag order.
It was an honour to join in NAIDOC week in Rundle Mall (pictured below). The cube which celebrates Aboriginal culture and language is well worth a visit!
Gag Order Lifted
At the Council meeting on the 11th of June I proposed that Council adopt the Standing Orders, without the inclusion of the contentious “Gag Order” which prevented elected members from sharing our motions with the media. My concern has always been that this would restrict the capacity of elected members to talk freely and openly about our ideas with the community. My amendment was defeated – with Councillors Anne Moran, Phil Martin and Helen Donovan joining with me in voting against the Gag Order.
There was a strong community backlash against these changes to standing orders and two weeks later, Council reversed its position supporting a motion from Anne Moran to remove the Gag. The motion was backed by all Councillors except Cllrs Knoll and Abrahimzadeh. Unfortunately, a majority of Councillors voted to put the motion without debate. That said, the overall outcome was a win for people power and local democracy. You can read more here.
Push To Improve City Recycling
At the meeting on the 25th June, I moved that Council investigate the use of see-through recycling bins to improve recycling in the city. See-through recycling bins are used in public spaces in many Australian cities and overseas as a means of educating the community about ‘what goes where.’ A Council in WA has also recently trialled the use of see-through wheelie bins to raise community awareness around waste management and encourage positive recycling practices. Council backed an investigation into the idea with Councillors Moran, Hyde, Donovan, Hou and Abrahimzadeh voting in support. Any use of see-through recycled bins at a residential level would likely involve a voluntary trial and no one is proposing replacing all existing bins. You can read more about the idea here.
New Solar and Electric Vehicle Incentives
As part of our budget, Council has approved a new incentive is assist with the installation of solar on apartments and commercial buildings in the city. There are also a raft of measures to encourage electric vehicles. You can read more about these measures here.
Commonwealth Games Study Discussed In Secret
At Committee on 2 July, Council were briefed by the Office of Recreation and Sport on a Feasibility Study on the Commonwealth Games. Cllr Moran and I argued that the matter should not be heard in confidence and that the community should have access to the information. Unfortunately, this was not the majority view and a confidentiality order was applied. You can read more about the debate here.
Council Opposes Calvary Hospital Expansion
On the 2nd of July, Council discussed the proposed expansion of the Calvary Hospital. Council agreed unanimously to write to the State Commission Assessment Panel and express our opposition to the expansion given its impact on heritage in North Adelaide. The potential demolition of an 1855 villa on Ward St is of particular concern. As I stated at the meeting (reported in The Advertiser) “When these sorts of issues come forward, really they can end up being trojan horse developments and change the character of the area.” You can read more here.
Time to Strengthen Renters Rights?
At our next Council on the 16th July, I’ll be moving for Council to back Shelter SA’s ‘Make Renting Fair Campaign.’
The campaign is focussed on 3 main aims:
– Landlords and real estate agents should welcome pets
– No cause evictions must be abolished
– Resources for tenant education, information, advice and advocacy must be increased.
I’m also calling for Council to hold a public meeting to hear about the experiences of renters in the market and share these with the State Government. Given almost 60 per cent of residents in the city are renters and the Council is aiming to make Adelaide a liveable city, it’s appropriate for us to take a position on this. You can read more about the campaign here.
It was also reported in The Advertiser.
If I can assist you with a local issue, please do not hesitate to contact me on: R.Simms@adelaidecitycouncil.com.au or 0466 829 909.
I am based in Town Hall on Tuesdays. If you would like to arrange a time to meet please let me know!
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Please note, the views in this newsletter are my own and do not purport to be those of Adelaide City Council.