Sunday, May 8, 2011

Wollongong City Council - Platform for Change 2011

On 3rd September 2011 the residents of the City of Wollongong had the opportunity to vote for a popularly-elected, representative Council and Lord Mayor. This was an important moment in the history of the city, for Wollongong had been without civic leadership and direction since the corruption scandals of 2006-7 brought about the Council's sacking on 5 March 2008. Prior to that, a "development at any cost" mentality, corruption of individuals and process, and political inertia over more than a decade stripped the city of its vitality, damaged the environment and marked it as a cultural backwater. Since 2008 the ALP-appointed administrators and Council bureaucracy had exacerbated the problem by shutting down community engagement and depriving the people of the City of their legitimate right to inclusive local government. On 3 September 2011 there was an opportunity for change. Wollongong needed to be kick-started, and Council opened up to new ideas, new energy and a new way of doing business. The following is a platform which sought to revitalise the City of Wollongong and enable it to take its place as one of Australia's most vibrant, innovative and culturally progressive regional centres. It was put to the people of the City on 16 June 2011.

Wollongong City Council - Platform for Change 2011

The Lord Mayor and popularly elected members of Wollongong City Council should implement the following upon their election on 3 September 2011
  1. A public commitment to serve the people of the City of Wollongong, and not cater to vested interests
  2. A public proclamation of real commitment to community involvement in Council planning, decision making and setting of strategic direction
  3. Reinstatement of Neighbourhood / Precinct Committees, with power to make recommendations to Council
  4. Development of informal Neighbourhood Forums to facilitate open discussion on issues of local concern
  5. A public commitment to open and accountable government
  6. Creation of a Public Information Office to facilitate access to, and promotion of, information and documents pertaining to development proposals submitted to Council, and also pertaining to projects to be undertaken by Council and other arms of government (e.g. State and Federal government projects within the City of Wollongong)
  7. Creation of a Ward Liaison Office to facilitate community engagement, with a dedicated Ward Liaison Office for each Ward
  8. Creation of community-based committees with power to make recommendations to Council: 1) Aboriginal Heritage Committee, 2) Arts Committe, 3) Environmental Committee, 4) Heritage Committee, 5) Planning Committee, 6) Traffic Committee, 7) Youth Council, and other committees, both standing and/or project based, as necessary e.g. Employment Taskforce
  9. Removal of all parking meters from the City of Wollongong
  10. Holding of a city transport summit to discuss long-term public transport solutions for the City of Wollongong
  11. Implementation of a strong heritage protection regime with support for protection, preservation and promotion of the cultural heritage of the City of Wollongong
  12. Development and implementation of an environmental protection regime, embedding within the planning process
  13. Completion of a Coastal Management Plan to determine future use and protection of the coastal zone
  14. Development of an Escarpment protection and development regime, with inclusion of visual impact controls on future development
  15. Review of planning policies and procedures to ensure appropriate community engagement, and adherence to said policies and procedures both within and outside of Council
  16. Removal of bureaucratic waste within the operations of Council
  17. Development of an inter-governmental liaison committee, to work with state and federal governments on issues pertaining to the development of the City of Wollongong and the quality of life of its residents
  18. Review of Council's budget with a view to reprioritising commitments based on input from the incoming Council and the local community
  19. Adoption of principle of equitable spending of Council budget across wards
  20. Review of Council strategic planning documents, with a view to reprioritisation and reconsideration based on input from the incoming Council and the local community
  21. Holding of a Northern Suburbs Traffic Summit to discuss a long-term solution to traffic gridlock in the Northern Suburbs
  22. Development of an Arts Precinct / Arts Trails in the city centre, with connections to satellite locations throughout the City of Wollongong
  23. Development of a City of Festivals - there's always something going on! profile utilising the resources of Tourism Illawarra and present community networks
  24. Adoption of a "Come, and stay!" tourism promotion, rather than the present focus on the City as the "Gateway to the South Coast"
  25. Restatement of support for multiculturalism and celebration of the rich multicultural heritage of the City of Wollongong
  26. Expansion of the number of full-time professional lifeguards employed by Council, including expansion of their public education role, plus installation of lifeguard services at Puckey's Beach
  27. Investigation of a process for the inclusion of Indigenous / Aboriginal / Koori representation on Wollongong City Council
  28. Geographical devolution of Council business and community engagement across wards, so that residents are not required to make frequent trips to the city centre in order to engage with Council and participate in democratic processes
  29. Introduction of place-based planning, as opposed to generic City-wide controls, thereby ensuring due consideration of local context, constraints and opportunities
  30. Web-cast and podcast of Council meetings
  31. Use of modern social media technologies (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, internet) to communicate with the broader community on a range of Council services, development proposals and projects
  32. Adherence to legislated and in-house Codes of Conduct
  33. Prioritisation of maintenance of basic services and infrastructure such as roads, guttering and garbage collection
  34. City-circle tram system to connect Crown St - Burrelli St - Wollongong Entertainment Centre - Wollongong Harbour and facilitate movement of locals and tourists
  35. Adoption of the Melbourne Principles for Sustainable Cities - also known as the United Nations Environement Program UNEP - principles to achieve sustainability e.g. Penrith City Council sustainability indicators
  36. Promotion of the City of Wollongong as a Nuclear Free Zone
  37. Progress of Dapto road bridge over the railway line to improve western access
  38. Consideration of improvements to the bottom of Bulli Pass to lessen the present danger to cars turning up the Pass and cars coming down the Pass and hitting the concrete wall
  39. Development of alternative northern access point to Thirroul from Bulli
  40. Expansion of Bellambi Point open space nature reserve
  41. Reconsideration of Wollongong Mall redevelopment

Michael Organ
mob: 0468 548 709

Last updated: 10 August 2015