A Branch of the NSW Greens

Make your vote count for Port Stephens Council

To assist voters make their choice in the 9 September election, Port Stephens Greens sent a questionnaire to all Mayoral and lead Group candidates for Port Stephens Council. Greens Questions for PSC candidates

Thirteen candidates responded and their completed questionnaires can be viewed below (see disclaimer at # below).  (For further information you can also view the video of the TRRA Candidates Forum HERE )

We urge all voters to consider their choices carefully, and to remember that you don’t have to follow the preference recommendations of your first choice candidate or Group.  Whether you are voting ‘above-the-line’ for a Group or ‘below the line’ for individual candidates, you can choose your own second, third, etc preferences.

Mayoral candidates

Ryan Palmer: Greens Questions for PSC candidates – Ryan Palmer response

Des Maslen: Greens Questions for PSC candidates – ALP team response

Geoff Dingle: Greens Questions for PSC candidates – Geoff Dingle response

Steve Tucker: No response received as at 7/9/17

Peter Kafer: Greens Questions for PSC candidates – Peter Kafer response

Sally Dover: No response received as at 7/9/17

Lead Group Candidates for West Ward

Paul Le Mottee: Greens Questions for PSC candidates – Paul Le Mottee response

Giacomo Arnott: Greens Questions for PSC candidates – ALP team response

Peter Kafer: Greens Questions for PSC candidates – Peter Kafer response

Jillian Lye: Greens Questions for PSC candidates – Jillian Lye response

Ken Jordan: No response received as at 7/9/17

Lead Group Candidates for Central Ward

Sarah Smith: Greens Questions for PSC candidates – Sarah Smith response

Steve Tucker: No response received as at 7/9/17

Jenny Battrick: Questions for PSC candidates – Jenny Battrick response

Chris Doohan: No response received as at 7/9/17

Des Maslen: Greens Questions for PSC candidates – ALP team response

Luis Gomez-Fort (ungrouped candidate): Greens Questions for PSC candidates – Luis Gomez-Fort

Lead Group Candidates for East Ward

John Nell: Greens Questions for PSC candidates – John Nell response

Sally Dover: No response received as at 7/9/17

Ryan Palmer: Greens Questions for PSC candidates – Ryan Palmer response

David Simm: Greens Questions for PSC candidates – ALP team response

Jaimie Abbott: Greens Questions for PSC candidates – Jaimie Abbott response

#Please note that anyone printing and distributing ‘election material’ must comply with electoral law, including by including an ‘authorised by … and printed by …’ imprint. Also, any such material distributed on election day (9 September) had to be registered with the Electoral Commission by 1 September. We therefore advise viewers not to print and distribute any of the information on this page.  Port Stephens Greens are not endorsing or supporting any candidate or group – we provide the candidates’ responses to our questionnaire for online viewing as a public service to assist voters in making their choice.

2017 Council election – time for a change!

The election for Port Stephens Council on 9 September is an opportunity to replace the current council* with a more progressive cooperative and open alternative. Several candidates have already declared and when nominations close on 9 August we are likely to see a crowded field.

Rather than join that field and risk spoiling the chances of other good candidates, Port Stephens Greens will be putting our efforts into ensuring that voters are informed about the important issues and where the various candidates stand on those issues.

We are sending a questionnaire to all declared candidates and will make the responses public. We urge our members and supporters to play whatever part they can to bring about long-needed change to Port Stephens Council. Please contact us at email@portstephensgreens.org.au to find out how you can help.

*We recommend the Newcastle Herald coverage of our current Council – see links in the TRRA election page HERE

Gearing up for 2017!

After a busy 2016, including the federal election and campaigning on a range of local issues, Port Stephens Greens are seeing out the year with a Xmas social at the Hunter Botanical Gardens, Heatherbrae, on Sunday 11 December from 12.30pm.  BYOG + picnic or BBQ – or use the Gardens café.

hunter-botanic-gardens

In the New Year we will meet regularly to continue our work supporting concerned local communities on issues such as the Williamtown contamination scandal; proposed new sand mines;  protection of public lands and koala habitat, and more sustainable housing and commercial development.  We will spread our message through market stalls and other events, while also having fun with movie nights and other socials.

We are in limbo as regards Council mergers, but whatever the State government decides we face the prospect of at least 12 months of an unelected Administrator before the next local elections.  We will continue to press our case with whoever is calling the local government shots, as well as with State and Federal governments where appropriate.

Election over, but important issues remain!

2016 election stall_1  In the federal election in July, the Greens managed to hold our vote close to previous levels in the face of many more options for those disillusioned with the old main parties. Locally we held our own in Paterson with our excellent candidate John Brown gaining 5.7% of the primary vote, and our voters preferences helped Labor to take the seat from the Liberals with a major swing.  Disappointingly, there was a big vote for the Pauline Hanson One Nation party and other conservatives, although voters may not necessarily agree with the more reactionary views of these parties, but just be wanting to send a message about the failure of political elites to address real concerns. Our challenge is to persuade many of these people, as well as progressive Labor and Liberal voters, that the Greens offer real practical solutions.

Local elections

While we wait for the NSW government to announce its intentions about the future of Port Stephens Council (a merger with Newcastle seems the most likely), we will not have Council elections in September.  But other Hunter Councils do, and Port Stephens Greens will be helping Cessnock/Kurri Greens with the Cessnock election on 10 September.  Offers of help to hand out ‘How to vote’ information at pre-poll from 29 August and on election day will be gratefully received.

Local Issues

Continuing local issues include the Williamtown contamination, where Senator Lee Rhiannon and NSW MLC Mehreen Faruqi have been helping to hold the relevant authorities to account and achieve meaningful action to assist the hundreds of affected families.

Post election social 2016_1

Port Stephens Greens remain active on a wide range of other local, state and federal issues, and we meet regularly in various locations, including for social events.

We would like to hear from you!  Contact us:

Nigel Waters 0407 230 342 nigel@portstephensgreens.org.au

Liz Stephens 0422 144 441 pt_stephensgreens@bigpond.com

Decision time! Every vote counts

Tomorrow (Saturday 2 July) we have the chance to boost the state wide Greens vote and hopefully get Newcastle local Michael Osborne elected to the Senate alongside Lee Rhiannon. A strong vote for John Brown in Paterson will also send a message and could determine whether we have a Labor or Liberal MP for the next term.

Its not too late to help – we need extra help to ensure we can get our message over to voters at all polling booths (between 8am and 6pm).  Please contact us today if you can spare an hour or two to handout our ‘How to vote Greens’ flyers.

Nigel Waters 0407 230 342 nigel@portstephensgreens.org.au

Liz Stephens 0422 144 441 pt_stephensgreens@bigpond.com

Help us listen to the voters on 1 May

On Sunday 1 May, Greens throughout Australia will hit the streets to talk to voters about the issues that matter to them in the forthcoming federal election.

Join us in Medowie on the afternoon of 1 May – click HERE for more details and to register online.

161115_Lee-Michael-Jane-Cain

Senator Lee Rhiannon and Senate candidates Michael Osborne and Jane Oakley talk to Williamtown residents

Paterson campaign under way

Port Stephens Greens have joined with members in Maitland and Cessnock to pre-select John Brown as our candidate for Paterson in the forthcoming federal election.

John kicked off the campaign at a meeting in Raymond Terrace on 8 April with Senator Lee Rhiannon, who is up for re-election, our number 2 Senate candidate (and Newcastle Councillor) Michael Osborne, and Cessnock Councillor James Ryan.

JR+LR+NW+JB

The Greens have been vocal on the Williamtown contamination crisis, in support of the hundreds of families whose lives have been disrupted. The government has refused to act on many of the recommendations of the Senate Inquiry initiated by Senator Rhiannon, and Labor is refusing to commit to do any better if elected.

We reject Council merger

Port Stephens Greens have made a comprehensive submission to the Inquiry into the Liberal State Government’s flawed proposal to amalgamate Port Stephens and Newcastle Councils.  See the submission here: PS Greens submission on Council merger

Our rejection of the merger should not be taken as satisfaction with the way Port Stephens Council has been run.  The Mayor and his voting bloc of Councillors have irresponsibly portrayed the Government’s ideologically driven proposal as a ‘grab’ by a badly run Newcastle City for assets of a well managed Port Stephens.  Neither assertion is true.  But to the extent that Port Stephens has problems that need to be fixed, the voters should be left to address them through the ballot box at the next Council elections.

Keep our Councils local

A public meeting has been called for Monday evening, 8 February to help Port Stephens and Newcastle residents defend local democracy by opposing the State Government’s proposal to merge the two Councils

“The State Government have initiated a poorly-advertised, tick-a-box, sham consultation process,” said Newcastle Greens Cllr Michael Osborne.

“When they made their forced council amalgamation announcement just before Christmas last year, they should have also announced a referendum of all affected residents,” Cllr Osborne said.

“For a council amalgamation to have any legitimacy, it should only proceed where residents and ratepayers of each local government area have voted in favour of amalgamation in a valid referendum,” Cllr Osborne said.

“A forced amalgamation between Newcastle City and Port Stephens is not the answer,” Newcastle Greens Cllr Therese Doyle said.

“When amalgamations have been forced on locals in other states like Victoria and Queensland, rates have gone up, services have stagnated and residents end up less connected to their local councillors,” Cllr Doyle said.

“When the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into local government handed down its final report last year, they recommended that the Baird government commit to a policy of no forced amalgamations after finding that much of the ‘Fit for the Future’ assessment process was flawed,” Cllr Doyle said.

“The Baird Government has failed to release the key financial modelling report being relied upon,” Cr Doyle said.

“We are encouraging all residents to come along and hear the facts about the proposed forced amalgamation,” said John Brown, on behalf of Port Stephens Greens.

A submission guide will be provided on the night.

Public Meeting:     Keep our Councils Local!

When:                     Monday 8th February 6pm to 8pm

Where:                    Gallipoli Legion Club; upstairs, 3-5 Beaumont St, Hamilton (Newcastle)

Speakers include:

  • David Shoebridge, Greens NSW Upper House MP, Spokesperson on Local Government
  • Kate Washington, Labor MP for  Port Stephens, Shadow Minister for Hunter
  • Tim Crakanthorp, Labor MP for Newcastle, Councillor on Newcastle City Council
  • Therese Doyle, Greens Councillor on Newcastle City Council
  • John Brown, representing Port Stephens Greens

Williamtown area under assault

The Fullerton Cove, Williamtown and Salt Ash communities face an unprecedented triple threat to their way of life, health and environment. The Greens have supported these communities in their resistance to these threats and will continue to do so. We share the vision of most local people for their area – a predominantly rural landscape offering a great lifestyle. Williamtown airport and RAAF base are important contributors to the local economy, but the Department of Defence has not been a good neighbour. All three levels of government have failed the community on at least three important issues.

  • Contamination from RAAF Base Williamtown
  • Sand mining on Cabbage Tree Road
  • Coal seam Gas exploration

Read more below:

Contamination from RAAF Base Williamtown

In September 2015, the local community became aware for the first time of what the Department of Defence (DoD), the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and Port Stephens Council have known for at least two years – that toxic chemicals from fire-fighting foam have been leaching into soil and water surrounding the RAAF base since at least 2011, and probably much longer. A large ‘red zone’ has been declared, stretching from Fullerton Cove to Tilligerry Creek, limiting use of groundwater, and consumption of foods produced within the zone, with fishing bans extending even further. 650 families within the zone have found their property values destroyed and livelihoods affected, with serious unanswered questions about potential health effects. DoD have lived up to their name by going into ‘Defence’ mode over the issue, only now being forced to give answers to a Greens initiated Senate Inquiry. The EPA and Council have also not responded adequately to date.

The Greens call on the Commonwealth Government to:

  • allow full access by the EPA and independent experts to the RAAF base to carry out tests
  • ensure that the contaminants are contained and removed
  • co-operate with the State government in a comprehensive plan for testing soil, water and human health throughout the affected area
  • urgently arrange financial assistance for affected families and businesses
  • establish an independently run, fair and just compensation scheme, and if necessary buy out affected properties

Sand mining on Cabbage Tree Road

In 2014, Port Stephens Council controversially awarded a contract for quarrying of 4.6 million tonnes of sand over 15 years from Council owned land north of Cabbage Tree Road. The quarry would remove habitat for koalas and other at risk species, would destroy the quality of life of local residents, and would add hundreds of heavy truck movements to already overloaded and unsuitable single carriageway roads. It would also threaten the water table and disturb potentially contaminated soil within the recently declared ‘red zone’. With a staggering lack of sensitivity to the Williamtown residents already struggling with the contamination issue, the quarrying company has just released its Environmental Impact Study for the quarry, which while scaled back will still seek to extract 3.3 million tonnes, clearing vegetation from 54 hectares.

The Greens call on authorities to defer assessment of the Cabbage Tree Road sand quarry Development Application until the contamination issue is resolved

Coal seam Gas exploration

The local community fought off Dart Energy’s plans to drill CSG wells at Fullerton Cove in 2012, but the new licence holder is expected to try to drill again before long. The exploration area, which could eventually see industrial scale production, extends as far east as Bobs Farm and north to the Myall Lakes (as well as most of Newcastle). Exploration and production wells would threaten the precious Tomago sandbed water supply, with a range of other environmental and potential health risks. This area is simply not suitable for CSG activity, which in any case is an unwanted and unnecessary industry anywhere in NSW.

The Greens have called on the State Government to buy back the CSG exploration licence PEL458, as it has in many other areas of NSW, to remove this threat from the local community once and for all.