TRANSFORMING THE LIGHT RAIL CONTRACT

I have been thinking about this exact issue, discussed in this article below, about how the light rail contract could be re-purposed. We need to build infrastructure in neglected areas of Canberra, before we build light rail.
I have been thinking about transforming the light rail contract into other building contracts- to do projects we really need- such as an indoor swimming pool for West Belconnen, building bus shelters on every major street, a bike track-bbq-playground facility on the Kippax Ovals and more footpaths in residential areas, where we lack footpaths. Please see my policy list for other projects we need to do.
If I am elected as an Independent for the seat of Ginninderra, instead of cancelling the light rail contract, I would work towards transforming the light rail project contract into infrastructure building projects for the most neglected corners of Canberra, especially West Belconnen. It’ll be like Christmas, I hope- ask for what you need, and finally, get it done. How can we build a light rail line, if neglected areas have no public pool, missing bus shelters on main roads, and lack footpaths on either sides of streets? Let’s get the basics right, before we get the fancy things done, like light rail.
I am fully committed to transforming the light rail contract into useful, long lasting community building projects- that would be great for our area.
I do NOT support wasting money- I hope that we can make sure we use our city’s money wisely, for the long term, and most importantly, for all Canberrans, and especially for people in neglected areas, like West Belconnen.
Vanessa Jones
*****

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/experts-rubbish-libs-plan-for-light-rail-consortium-to-build-schools-hospitals-20160803-gqjxv0.html

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The Independent Dream

I was just remembering this piece of my writing, about Clover Moore being elected as the Lord Mayor of Sydney, as an Independent. And now I am running as an Independent for Ginninderra.
Funny links- life is strange.
From many years ago, about my old home town, Sydney.

Written as a letter article, for the  site http://www.counterpunch.org . VJ

**
WHY AN INDEPENDENT WON SYDNEY
By Vanessa Jones

April 24, 2004

Well, co-editor Alex, you are asking me to do a piece on the Sydney City Council elections, after I forwarded some articles summarizing the surprise election results for Lord mayor 3 weeks ago. I am a bit washed out after an Easter vomit bug. Then the toilet broke down and the plumber should come tomorrow. The kids are having their night time story- Eric Carle’s “The Very Busy Spider” and Angela Banner’s old classic “Happy Birthday with Ant and Bee”- an originally 1964 published book, reissued in 1999. The current federal opposition Labor Leader, Mark Latham, recommends reading kids 3 books a night- but I’m sure there are nights when he also only manages 2.

So- I am wondering why you are so determined to get a story up about small town Sydney. Could it perhaps be an example of democracy in progress- a hope for an upcoming US election? Independent Clover Moore goes against the Labor party machine and wins- a “green” minded Independent can actually become a Lord Mayor of a major city?

Well, I do have a love of Sydney and yet I hate a lot of what’s happened to it over the past 10 years. A huge increase in high-rise development, traffic congestion, little commitment to public transport, a lack of affordable housing and a long wait for public housing. Sometimes it’s hard to write about something you love- something you see as worsening. Deteriorating. It’s interesting that a city like “third world” Cairo has built a superb underground metro in the past 10 years, but no such public transport progress has happened in “first world” Sydney over a similar period. But Clover Moore’s win 3 weeks ago gives hope to Sydney.

To find out something about Clover Moore- go to her website or check out this Sydney Morning Herald article.

The Sydney Morning Herald is a very chunky and heavy newspaper on Saturdays. It has a huge part of its weekend Saturday paper devoted to classifieds advertising, the famous “rivers of gold” which try and sell real estate, cars, advertise jobs, lease units and houses and announce births and deaths. Within the paper you will find a bit of journalism within all these ads. It is Sydney’s main broadsheet, with Murdoch/ News Corp’s national broadsheet The Australian its prime broadsheet rival. You won’t find in these papers many reprints of articles from The Independent, as The Canberra Times often carries. No big rush to reprint Robert Fisk or Patrick Cockburn or Robin Cook. Sydneysiders are better off dialing up The Independent online if they hope to get another perspective of the world. Or perhaps Counter Punch! Or even Al Jazeera! Thank God for the Internet! Perhaps one day we’ll even be able to dial up God himself.

So, within this city, the New South Wales Labor Party, led by Bob Carr, decided to forcibly amalgamate 2 nearby councils. Sydney City Council, and South Sydney City Council. They got it into one super council, and they wanted to get a Labor guy, Michael Lee, elected to the position of Lord Mayor. Many said that this was a way of adding to Sydney’s over development of residential units, and these developments would be used as a cash cow, property rates flowing each year to the new mega council. Now, the Labor party was trying to get out of towner Michael Lee into office with buckets of cash expended on this project. Now, the funny thing is that one day, I met Michael Lee by surprise. I was living near his electorate on the Central Coast- a seaside commuter zone one and a half hours north of Sydney. Many people go there for affordable housing, the clean air and the seaside lifestyle. I was there with young kids for pretty much those reasons. I was in the upmarket store David Jones which is perhaps like Peter Jones in the UK. It is pretty much the most upmarket department store in Australia.

Well, my family and I were about to go on a trip to France, to visit some dear friends. And it was October. Autumn on the other side of the world. So I’d looked around for a black skivvy for my partner, and of course, I ended up in DJ’s, as it’s known. Black skivvies (like turtle necks) are not sold in all men’s stores in Australia. I won’t go into that now. Another cultural issue. Well, I was standing in a queue at the counter, when Michael Lee, this year’s Labor Lord Mayor candidate, was in line behind me. He was contesting his federal seat, and he was buying a suit. A new suit. A day or 2 before elections. Well, he is a good looking man, a bit smaller than me, and we started talking about local politics and local Labor supporters who faithfully display Labor posters each elections, outside their home. I told him that the posters of himself were displayed well at a particular local site, with wide exposure for all passing traffic. These Labor supporters were known to both of us, and he had a funny tale of having a few drinks with one of them. Knowing the chap involved, it made a good story, as I could imagine the passion of his opinions and arguments, and knew of his commitment to Labor party ideals. It was an odd chat- he walked away with his suit, and I drove home with my black skivvy.

That was 5 years ago, or 6, and now that federal seat is no longer Labor. The area has changed- house prices have increased, and Michael Lee was gonna have a go at being elected the Sydney Lord Mayor.
But it didn’t all pan out that way for Michael Lee. Clover Moore- ex school teacher, is now Lord Mayor of Sydney. She is also the state independent politician for the inner city area known as the state seat of “BLIGH”.

You asked in you email, Alex, “Why did she win, what are her policies and what will she do for Sydney?”. I think she won because the people in Sydney City Council and South Sydney Council didn’t like the state Labor government amalgamating 2 local councils into one super size council and then trying to get one of their own voted in. Like me, probably a lot of people were sick of seeing cranes at street corners, building gigantic apartment buildings which ordinary people cannot afford to buy, and hearing about developer donations to the state Labor party, while people saw no improvement in public transport and local services. It was possible for people to vote in a local Independent because it was a localized issue. Getting up committed independent candidates state wide or nation wide is harder, and there is less independent media state wide and nationwide. When issues are local there seems to be more chance of an independent getting in, and the local diverse media can express independent voices. For her policies, check out her website- they spell out, for example, transport, parkland and development policies. I think a lot of locals would think that just to freeze development for a while would at least be a good thing. As for what she will do for Sydney- of course citizens hope for the best, but with politics, what is promised is not always what eventuates. What she will do for Sydney remains to be seen. Check out her website for what she claims to have done in the past, at state level. One huge issue is bringing back light rail to Sydney. There used to be trams in Sydney, but there are none now, except a small light rail line to a middle class/ yuppie area. It is a more a tourist gimmick to the fish markets. A trip to Melbourne will show the affect of trams- the traffic feels like a country town, compared to Sydney, but services a similar population.

Clover Moore said of her win, “There is a rejection by the Sydney community of the thuggish sacking of a democratically elected council and the attempt to install a candidate who moved into our area last September–there’s been a real rejection of that,” she told her supporters.

“Secondly, I believe people have embraced our positive policies of open and accountable local government that will support responsible planning that will protect our harbour foreshores, that will have progressive social policies for the people most in need.”

Now, one of the simple reasons that Clover Moore won seems to be that she is able to communicate well with people and listen to what they say, what they need, and she seems to do something about it. The seat of Bligh is a seat edging the city, Centennial Park, and the Sydney Harbour foreshore. Many in her electorate are gay, and they like her a lot. Her electorate encompasses the rainbow district of Oxford street- famous for its Mardi Gras parade. People handed out her leaflets at the latest election for free, while other parties had to pay for people to hand out party “how to vote cards”.

So, Alex, that’s a plain and simple story about Clover Moore, and how she won against the Labor Party. After 4 months in Sydney this previous summer, we’re back “home”, out of Sydney. This piece just makes me miss Sydney, its beaches, its buzz, and from a distance, I forget the traffic, the stress, the tired look on people’s faces. The separation of desirable areas by who can afford to live there. The traffic problems make the city inaccessible for those who don’t live near where they want to go. A distance of 10 kilometers can take an hour to drive, at times. Thinking of Sydney makes me just wanna drive down Anzac Parade, along Darley Road, beside Centennial Park, down Clovelly Road, and plunge into the sea. I’m too far away, but I love it still. I suppose that’s what the people of Clover Moore’s state and local electorates feel. It’s a city they love, and when they go to the ballot box, they follow their hearts, as well as their minds, and tick or number the box next to her name. Nothing too complicated. Somehow they must know that she’ll do a better job looking after their city, and the humans within it, than a Labor party or Liberal party member.

Best wishes,

Vanessa

Why an Independent Won Sydney

West Belconnen Needs Infrastructure Before Housing Expansion (from 2015)

http://the-riotact.com/west-belconnen-needs-infrastructure-before-housing-expansion/147346

Please read this article I wrote in 2015, about West Belconnen, published in The Riot Act.

**

WEST BELCONNEN NEEDS INFRASTRUCTURE BEFORE HOUSING EXPANSION

Reading this Sydney Morning Herald article about central Sydney, I wonder what the exact plans are for expanding housing in West Belconnen.

It would be good if the ACT government upgraded infrastructure before 11,000 new homes are built in the Macgregor-Holt area.

A 50m indoor pool at Kippax, a third supermarket at Kippax (Coles or Costco), an ACT government shop front at Kippax, a privately built radiology centre in West Belconnen and a bike track on the Kippax ovals would all add to the community’s quality of life and help cope with the increase in population. (You can share your thoughts for infrastructure in Kippax and West Belconnen on the Kippax Ideas Facebook page.)

I think that another bulk billing medical clinic could open up too, as I understand that the medical centre at Kippax usually has a long waiting time. There is a big demand for bulk billing Medicare services, we need more bulk billing doctors in the West Belconnen area.

But governments so rarely plan ahead. It’s all about mega bucks for the inner north tram line, and all the ALP do out here is try and sell off Higgins oval in 2014, and open an asbestos tip in 2014. Huh. Sell West Belconnen’s green space to fund an eco tram line. Funny “green” logic, that one. Who in politics is sticking up for the people and the green spaces in average areas such as West Belconnen?

West Belconnen currently has a population of between 45,000 to 55,000 people, depending on which suburbs you include. With 11,000 plus new homes to be built, that’s at least 22,000 new residents (assuming an average of two people per dwelling). The new population will be roughly 67,000 to 77,000 people, and increasing, as it’s an area for young families.

Shane Rattenbury replied on April 17, 2015 to my 2015 letter requesting a 50m indoor pool for West Belconnen. I wrote to Katy Gallagher and local West Belconnen politicians about a pool in 2014. This year, I wrote to Shane Rattenbury, after he put in the My Way machine at Kippax, after I wrote to him about it. In his reply to me in April 2015, Shane Rattenbury recognised that West Belconnen is projected to experience significant growth in the near future.

Our leading politicians are fully aware of the future growth of West Belconnen. The government is very welcoming of the huge rate revenue coming their way, from all the new housing to be built in West Belconnen. But what will all those new rates be spent on? Will the money be spent on infrastructure for West Belconnen? What are they doing to plan ahead for the area, so we have the best quality of life possible, out here in West Belconnen?

The inner north will get a fancy tram line, footy stadium, pool centre, a heated lakeside pool and all sorts of nice glitzy things, but what will West Belconnen get from all the new rates which will be paid? Or will our rates go to fancy, nice things for the inner north? Will the people of West Belconnen get nothing, and the residents of wealthier areas get it all?

By Vanessa Jones

POLICIES & ME

POLICIES & ME

Hi,
My name is Vanessa Jones. I live in West Belconnen, and I am running as an Independent Candidate for Ginninderra in the 2016 ACT election.
I started my Facebook page “Kippax Ideas”, over a year ago, in anger at the lack of media coverage of our area. I have lived here since 2001- for 15 years- and I have witnessed our area being ignored, constantly, by ALP & ALP-Greens governments.
I’m normally quite a shy person, so standing for government is not a habit of mine. But, I think that Ginninderra needs a voice for what the community wants.
Running the Kippax Ideas page has been interesting- you have told me what you want in the area- I have told you what I want- we have discussed and debated the issues we find important.
I know this area, Ginninderra, usually goes 2 Liberals and 3 ALP, or 2 Liberals and 3 ALP-Greens. I think we need to make sure that we have some independents in Ginninderra, so we have some voices for the community, not just politicians following Labor’s funding decisions. I have asked the ALP-Greens ACT government to improve our area- they do so very little.
I have 2 children, who have attended schools in the West Belconnen & Belconnen area. It concerns me, how private schools are used so much in Canberra- I prefer quality government schools to private schools. Every child deserves the best public education possible.
I am trained as a teacher, I have also helped run a business and done my own creative work. I have worked as a Visual Art teacher, and also as a teacher of English for Work, for adult migrants. I have always been interested in experiences of migration & displacement- I was born in England, and one of my parents is an immigrant. I worked as a researcher & assistant for the journalist Anne Deveson, after uni, in her Balmain home. My interests have often revolved around art, writing, journalism, design and politics. I was a full time parent for some time- I am the type of person who likes to do “one thing at once”, and I try to do that well.
Over the past 3 years, I have had a heath issue, which has stopped me from driving. The health issue has since improved, but the experience drove me to improve my area. It taught me what it’s like to be bus dependent, to be stuck in the Kippax area, to be dependent on local services only. That is one thing that drove me to talk about my area publicly- I had nothing to lose- my shyness just had to disappear for a while!
You know many of my policy ideas from the Kippax Ideas Facebook page- you have discussed them with me, and taught me what you want. If the ALP-Greens government won’t do them, but they fund the inner city & “the tram” instead, well I’ll give it a go. I have written to many politicians about my ideas, and I’ve met community leaders, to discuss them.
I grew up in Sydney, near the beaches, then I lived in the country, on the Central Coast, north of Sydney, for high school. I attended government schools, in both areas, and then I studied at Sydney College of the Arts and the University of Sydney. In my mid 20s I had my first child, and at the age of 30, I moved to West Belconnen, to buy a first home. No, I haven’t lived in West Belconnen all my life- I have traveled, I have lived in various places, rented many times, and I found my home and stability here. I like it here, it’s a pleasant area, with tall trees and lots of bird life, with nearby open farmland, and I want to make it better, for all of us, with the rates we pay.
I usually vote “to the left”- but I am fed up with West Belconnen being ignored by the ALP-Greens combo.
Here are my general policy ideas below, with my ideas for Kippax added underneath. I have written about my ideas, on the Kippax Ideas page- please remind me if I have forgotten any, below!
I wasn’t planning on running for government when I started the Kippax Ideas page, but when the government did nothing, what’s a girl gotta do? VJ
*
My achievement so far for our area:

1. Asking Shane Rattenbury to install a MyWay machine at Kippax newsagent for bus ticket recharging. That was achieved.
2. I encouraged the ALP to compete with The Liberals’ rapid bus plan- now we have the 300 rapid bus planning to deliver a bus service every 10 minutes, during the day, extended from Belconnen to Kippax- that is an improvement for us. Better services for our area.
3. Starting & running the “Kippax Ideas” Facebook community page, to give us all a voice, as the Canberra media often ignore our area.

MY IDEAS FOR OUR CITY- CANBERRA:

1. PUBLIC TRANSPORT
“THE TRAM”
Stop the tram line project, from Civic to Gungahlin. The tram line plan is not socially equitable- the outer suburbs of Canberra need infrastructure before this tram line is built. We need to fund all of Canberra first, especially West Belconnen, not just the inner city and the Inner North. Fund the outer suburbs, before a tram line is built. I fully believe in eco, renewable energy projects, but firstly, we must fund Canberra equally, and catch up on the ignored infrastructure needs of the outer suburbs. It is disgraceful that the outer suburbs have been ignored and underfunded for so long, by a Labor-Greens combination of governments. If successive Labor-Greens governments do not fund safe Labor seats like Ginninderra- who will? We need to change this funding lack. Fund the outer suburbs before we build a tram line. Get the order right.
RAPID BUSES
Instead of the tram line, do a rapid bus plan. Do rapid buses to every corner of Canberra, including the airport. Make sure all areas are catered for, before any tram line is built, in the future. Cater for all residents, with rapid buses, wherever they live, before building a tram line.
2. HOUSING SUPPORT
*GOVERNMENT HOUSING
Make sure that all Canberra suburbs have no more than the 7% Canberra average amount of government housing. Why do some suburbs have less than 5% government housing, and some suburbs have over 15%? We must share the percents of government housing equally, so every Canberra suburb has minimum 7% government housing.
Make sure, from now onwards, that public housing contracts are renewed every 5 years, so we make sure each government owned home is used efficiently- if a family with 3 kids needs a 3 bedroom home with a large block, then that family should have access to a large home. Make sure that people on waiting lists are housed, quickly. Use government homes efficiently, and make sure that every suburb has the same percent of public housing. Do not create areas of high disadvantage, ever.
Also, make sure that all government housing homes pay water bills, in the future- apartments and houses.
*AFFORDABLE HOME OWNERSHIP
Create housing projects where people can buy their own affordable homes.
Increase home ownership via affordable housing purchase schemes.
*HOMELESSNESS
Reduce & avoid homelessness.
3. OVALS & GREENSPACES
Preserve suburban ovals & greenspaces. Make sure average suburbs have the same amount of ovals & greenspaces as wealthy suburbs. How can Yarralumla have so many large open greenspaces, when the ACT Labor-Greens government tried to sell Higgins oval for housing, in 2014? Make sure average areas have their greenspaces preserved 100%, forever. Stop class based allocations of greenspaces.
4. LGBTI ISSUES
Support same sex marriage.
Provide adequate support services for LGBTI youth.
5. GAMBLING & POKIES
Reduce gambling options and poker machines. Who wins with gambling? As the song by The Whitlams says, “Blow Up The Pokies”.
6. RENEWABLE ENERGY
Have maximum renewable energy options, for the whole community.
Provide interest free loans for low income households, for renewable energy options, for household needs.
Have maximum community renewable energy use.
7. RECYCLE & REFUND DRINK CONTAINERS
Recycle drink cans and plastic drink bottles at collection depots, with a money refund incentive. I grew up with that in Sydney in the 1970s. Do it in the ACT, now.
8. GREEN WASTE COLLECTION BINS
Do green garden waste bins every 4 weeks, then every 2 weeks if the program is popular with residents.
9. KERBSIDE RUBBISH-RECYCLING COLLECTION
Have kerbside rubbish collections every 6 months, for household rubbish/recycling. This was happening in Sydney since the 1970s. Catch up, Canberra.
10. CHARITY BINS
Stop charity bins at shopping centres- they make a big mess. Have government recycling collection depots. The charities can pay a lease fee for their donation bins at these government recycling depots. Places like Kippax look trashy with the junk left outside these charity bins.
11. BUILDING HEIGHTS FOR APARTMENTS
Have the same apartment building heights in all major Canberra town centres. If Belconnen has 27 storey apartments, then Dickson, Gungahlin, Civic, Woden and Tuggeranong can have 27 storey apartment buildings too. Share the high levels & high density- don’t just do it in Belconnen. Sharing is caring…. If 27 storeys is too ugly for Dickson, then why should Belconnen have 27 storeys? Let’s be fair & equal in this city.
12. FRONT GARDEN FENCES
Allow people to fence in their front gardens, so they can fully use the land they buy or rent. Canberra land is extremely expensive. Let us make a fence & grow veggies within our front gardens.
13. BUS SHELTERS FOR ALL MAIN STREETS
Make bus shelters at all main road bus stops. If we can afford a tram line, then why not make bus shelters at all main road bus stops? Canberra has extreme temperatures- hot, cold and windy (and wet). Why suffer catching buses? Let’s encourage the use of public transport.
14. ENCOURAGE THE ARTS & ARTISTS
Create affordable studio spaces for artists, to encourage artists to live & work in Canberra. Rent out studios at cost prices, especially in the outer suburbs. Create incentives for artists to migrate to Canberra, to make the art scene here more dynamic. Affordable studio spaces would be a good start for this.
IDEAS TO IMPROVE WEST BELCONNEN
(The Kippax Manifesto)
These ideas were submitted in my submission for the Kippax Group Centre Draft Master Plan.
These ideas below relate specifically to Kippax, the major town centre for West Belconnen. Let’s have an election based on ideas for the outer suburbs, ie Kippax!
15. Create a combination of: children’s bike track, playground, benches & BBQs on the Kippax Ovals (the oval on Moyes Cres & Starke St).
16. A PUBLIC POOL!
Indoor public pool near Kippax. There is no public pool in West Belconnen for approximately 45,000 residents.
17. PARCEL PICK UP
Work with Australia Post for a parcel pick up depot at Kippax, for all local post parcels, so no trips are required to Belconnen for parcel pickups.
18. WATER PLAY
Toddler water fountain play area. Higgins or Kippax oval, or at Charnwood oval.
19. Walk and cycle path through the Kippax Ovals, for pedestrians, prams, bikes, wheelchairs and mobility scooters
20. RADIOLOGY
Private radiology centre at Kippax or nearby (there are none within West Belconnen). Save people having to drive to Deakin, or getting lifts out of the area.
21. MEDICAL CENTRE
Large “bulk billing” one stop health clinic like Ginninderra Health Centre at Belconnen. Build it near Kippax. To include: chemist, doctors, radiology, dental, mental health, medical specialists, physiotherapy, podiatry and all medical needs. Make it so we can get all basic medical needs within West Belconnen. Make as much as possible bulk billing, for lower income people.
22. FOOTPATHS
Proper footpaths on all main roads in Belconnen & West Belconnen. Consider wheelchair and pram use, and safe walking. Make sure wheelchair & mobility scooter users have easy footpath access. Minimum one footpath on one side of every main street or main road. Aim to make sure people do not have to go more than 300 metres from their home without a footpath. Consider the elderly and wheelchair users. Many streets currently have no footpaths at all.
23. 3rd supermarket at Kippax ie Coles
24. JAMISON- WEST BELCO BUS
Start a direct bus Charnwood-Kippax-Hawker-Cook-Jamison. Support smaller shopping centres with a direct bus each hour. Currently you need 2 buses to go from Kippax to Jamison. Make it easy & direct.
25. COMMUNITY GARDENS
Community gardens in Belconnen and West Belconnen: publicise what is here now, and build up what we want. Get available funding, for our area. Have a community orchard within West Belconnen.
26. PUBLIC ART
Make sure arts funding is equal for West Belconnen & Belconnen, as other areas of Canberra receive, for public sculpture, public murals & public graffiti art.
27. Make sure our politicians improve our area, rather than try and sell off our ovals and successfully open up an asbestos tip.
28. Preserve our ovals & green space.
Thanks for reading.
Please see my “Kippax Ideas” Facebook page for articles & discussions from the past (see below).

By Vanessa Jones

( The information on this page is for and by Vanessa Jones, Independent candidate for Ginninderra ACT 2016 )

Please see my Canberra community page below:

And please see my 2016 Election page below:

https://www.facebook.com/Vanessa-Jones-Independent-candidate-for-Ginninderra-ACT-2016-857912191019461/