19 March 2019
Early learning centres in all new public schools under Greens Early Education plan The Greens have called for a radical rethink of pre-school and early learning services, announcing a policy that would bring preschool for three and four year olds into the state’s public education system.
The plan includes a proposal to build Early Learning Centres in all new public primary schools and retrofitting existing schools based on local need and space availability. This investment in public pre-school facilities will help ensure access to free, universal pre-school for all three and four year olds for up to 15 hours per week. This will bring NSW in line with other States' existing programs. The Greens plan also commits to supporting the many early learning services, including Out of School Hours care, playgroups and other services relying on facilities owned and managed by schools or council owned, to guarantee tenure and ensure that facilities are appropriately maintained and upgraded. Tighter regulations to ensure childcare and pre-school facilities in NSW comply with outdoor space requirements would also be introduced.
Greens Early Education Spokesperson Justin Field said :
“This is about putting kids first and recognising the value of quality early education and the work of educators in the sector.
“We need greater public investment in early learning. NSW has the lowest preschool access rates and the highest fees, while also having the highest rates of for-profit operators. We need a rethink of how we deliver these critical services, that puts children first."
Benjamin Arcioni, Greens candidate for Wollongong says :
“The Greens want to see a transition away from the provision of for-profit early learning to pre-school being part of the free, universal public education system. There will still be collaboration between schools and the community and not-for-profit preschool services and where appropriate not-for-profit long day care services."
Jamie Dixon, Greens candidate for Shellharbour adds :
“Other countries have moved to deliver free preschool for three and four years olds because the benefits it delivers are significant, especially for those from disadvantaged backgrounds. By bringing these services into the public education system, we can also address the issue of low pay in the sector, which is a significant contributor to the gender pay gap."
Kaye Osborn, Greens candidate for Keira states :
“One benefit of using school grounds to construct these facilities is that they can more easily deliver before and after school care, as well as other services that support families, such as playgroups, mothers' and fathers' groups, and early intervention programs.
“This is about building a supportive learning and care environment for families from the youngest years and changing the way we think and talk about early education and care."
The Greens plan includes:
● Transition to free, universal access to preschool for all children from the age of three for a minimum of 15 hrs/wk.
● All new primary schools in NSW to include Early Learning Centres and prioritise the construction of facilities into existing schools based on need and where space allows.
● Review the rules and guidelines around facilities leasing for early learning services in schools and council facilities to ensure ongoing certainty of access.
● Stricter enforcement of outdoor space requirements, with clear limits on exemptions.
● A $20m OOSH and Playgroup Facilities Grant program.
Justin Field is available for comment - 0439 205 835
Greens put Empty Home Levy on the table for Wollongong Council
Wollongong Greens Councillor Cath Blakey said,
"On Monday week, I have a motion before Wollongong Council calling for an Empty Home Levy. It has succeeded in the UK and has been introduced in Victoria. It is time for NSW to step up and address this obscene inequality in housing".
Kaye Osborn, Greens candidate for Keira said,
19 February 2019
Wollongong Council last night unanimously called on the state government to repeal its regulatory burden and draconian policing on music festivals, but Greens councillor Cath Blakey called on council to do more to keep festival goers safe from the risk of overdoses. Council should also support pull testing at Festivals.
Greens Clr Cath Blakey said:
"I am gl;ad that Wollongong Council agreed to call on the state government to end the draconian policing of music festivals. But the Council motion failed to get to the crux of the issue - how to keep festival goers safe from the risk of drug overdoses. Over the last 5 months, 6 people have died. Prohibition has failed. Sniffer dogs have failed. Representatives of the music industry have clearly stated that more red tape isn't the answer. We know what works - it has been used in Europe since the 90s, and was a big success in the ACT last year. It is pill testing and we need to start a trial here in NSW.
"Pill testing will save more lives than heavy policing, and will cost the festival organisers about a third of the estimated cost of the new festival regulations".
Greens candidate for Wollongong, Benjamin Arcioni said:
"The failed war on drugs is killing people while politicians and police have wilfully ignored the mounting evidence that zero-tolerance abstinence does not work.
"How many more people need to die before they get the message? Pill testing saves lives.
" That is why I will travel up to Sydney on Thursday21 February -- to take the message to the Premier that the over policing of festivals is killing people.”
Media contact for Illawarra Greens: Mithra Cox 0425 351 844
Wollongong Uni and TAFE to be free under Greens new public education plan
Australian Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi is in Wollongong on Monday 17 December to announce that Wollongong University and TAFE would be made free under the Greens 5 Point Plan for Education.
Senator Faruqi said:
“It’s time to end the debt sentence. Young people are graduating from university and TAFE with crushing debts that take almost a decade to pay off. Under the Greens plan, over 1.3 million Australians will be studying fee free and debt-free in TAFE and universities by 2023.
“We have universal primary and secondary education. Free public higher education is the missing piece of the puzzle.
“No one should graduate with a decade of debt ahead of them. Australians have seen the benefits of free education, and we can have them again.
“We are ranked 30th out of 34 in the OECD for public investment in tertiary education, which shows how behind we are globally. We need to properly fund our public university system and reverse the cuts imposed by the Liberal-National Government.
“Removing TAFE fees is a crucial part of this plan. TAFE is being decimated by state and federal governments.”
Benjamin Arcioni, Greens state candidate for Wollongong, said:
“Vocational education provides a pathway into work for both young people and for older people retraining into a new profession. That pathway should not come with a burden of debt.
“Privatising vocational education hasn’t worked, and has wasted large amounts of Government funding. The Greens want to put that money to better use by funding the TAFE system, giving people a chance to develop skills and improve their lives.
“Making higher education free is going to cost money. Fossil fuel extraction companies use tax loopholes to avoid paying their fair share for exporting our natural resources. We could fund free university and TAFE education by closing those tax loopholes.
“We aren’t getting as much in royalties from gas extraction as other nations, even though we are producing more gas. Making those companies pay their fair share would let us invest in our future by providing free education.
“I’ve taught students who are working while trying to study, and the thing they need most is more time. Increasing student support through Youth Allowance, Austudy and Abstudy means students can spend more time learning instead of earning money. Proper funding of university and TAFE students will improve their ability to study.”
Rowan Huxtable, Greens federal candidate for Cunningham said:
“Reducing the diesel rebate for mining and gas production would provide additional government revenue without additional personal tax. We want to use this revenue source to better fund public education.”
“It would also provide a financial incentive to miners to replace diesel power with renewable power and energy saving.
“This would drive technological innovation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions – which we urgently need to do.
“Maximising community benefit from mining is not the same as maximising the volume that we dig out of the ground.”
Details of the Greens 5 Point Plan for free education can be found at :
Media contact for Illawarra Greens: Mithra Cox 0425 351 844
Media Contact for Senator Mehreen Faruqi: Matt Hilton 0423 106 247
Greens jubilant after best ever result in Ward 3
25 Nov 2018
The Greens are celebrating after their candidate Jamie Dixon posted the Greens best ever result in the Wollongong Council Ward 3 by-election.
The Greens vote reached up to 20% at some booths, the sort of results that we normally see in Greens heartland.
Some of the best results for the Greens were:
• Port Kembla Public -- 20%
• Warrawong Community Hall -- 17.5%
• Primbee -- 17%
• Cringila -- 17%
• Berkeley West Public -- 16%
• Figtree High -- 23%
• Koonawarra Hall -- 17%
This is only the second time the Greens have contested Ward 3, and this result builds on the good result in 2017. Across the Ward, there was a swing of 5 percentage points towards the Greens. In 2017, the Greens polled 9% and yesterday it was 14%. This is an impressive increase of nearly 70% on the 2017 results.
Greens candidate Jamie Dixon said:
“That so many of these areas, which have a high level of disadvantage, voted so strongly Green shows that our platform of social justice, public services and a fair go for everyone has resonated in areas that have never voted Green before.
“People want to live in a city with decent transport, where we look after each other, where there is vibrant culture, and where we look after our lake, escarpment and beaches.
“We spoke to more people, and campaigned harder than ever before, and our efforts paid off.”
More information: Jamie Dixon 0403 402 114
21 November 2018
Greens candidate for Wollongong Council, Jamie Dixon has called for better buses in southern Wollongong.
“Navigating between the shopping centres in the Ward 3 area using public transport is unnecessarily time consuming. The routes seem to be designed around the needs of the bus operators, rather than the needs of the user.
“With Wollongong City Council, and the local chambers of commerce, already dedicating significant amounts of time and money to revitalising the centres of Port Kembla, Warrawong, and Dapto, there needs to be a focus on enhanced public transport access to these areas as well.
“The first step in getting improved bus routes and timetables is to show that there is an increasing demand. At the moment, a very small proportion of bus stops have a shelter, which discourages potential users, and can make it harder for bus drivers to identify waiting passengers.
“I am repeatedly being told by voters that if the weather is too hot, too wet or too windy, the idea of waiting at a bus top can be very off-putting. On winter mornings, passengers have had busses go past without stopping, because there is no lighting, and they cannot easily be seen by the driver.
“There are a number of existing, Australian made, designs available, which are mass produced, easy to assemble and install, and provide both shelter from the elements, as well as seating and visibility. The preferred Greens option also has a small stand alone solar system, to provide both safety and visibility outside daylight hours. This lighting is contained within a vertical panel, so there is also the potential to rent part of the space for advertising to offset the initial purchase cost.
“Wollongong desperately needs better public transport, and our local businesses need community support to thrive. Surely it is one of Council’s most basic duties to facilitate both of these goals – by making the bus an attractive and viable all weather option, it gives every member of the community a reason to leave the car at home, and shop locally,” Mr Dixon said.
Jamie will be available for comment at Dapto Ribbonwood prepoll on Thursday 22nd November
Please contact Jamie Dixon 0403 402 114
16 November 2018
“Given that large areas of New South Wales are still in desperate drought conditions, and Wollongong City Council staff have been pushed to donate to farm relief appeals, it makes no sense that even more Illawarra farmland is being rezoned for development.“With existing developments to reduce the amount of green space in the Lake Illawarra catchment area, and serious questions arising about the supply of housing even meeting our city’s needs, I am stunned that another agricultural holding is to be concreted over, this time as light industrial land.“I personally know farmers out west who would give their eye teeth for 11 hectares of prime arable land. Shellharbour Council is allotting part of their open areas to make hay for starving livestock, but, here in Yallah, we’re turning our back on the problem, and creating an even bigger one, in terms of poorly managed runoff, for our Lake.”
“Wollongong City Council needs to take a stand against this rampant over development, and understand that they have a responsibility to protect food production capacity.“There is an abundance of under-utilised industrial land around Port Kembla, and a desperate need for employment there. This is fertile land, that can grow local produce, reduce food miles, and remind our children that food doesn’t just come from a supermarket.“There are a number of locally based community farming initiatives, with sound business models to act as precedents.“The Greens want to see this part of our local economy grow, and be supported by Council. Wollongong should not think of itself as just a labour pool for Sydney – we’re a city of our own, and we need to think about providing more for ourselves.”
15 November 2018
Greens Councillor Mithra Cox has put a notice of motion to the next Wollongong Council meeting, to allow food trucks to liven up empty spaces at night.
“Wollongong should follow the lead of Sydney and allow food trucks in places where you can’t currently get a bite to eat, or in places that feel a bit dodgy and empty at night, where we want to encourage more people come,” Councillor Cox said today.
“Food trucks are increasingly popular in cites around the world, and have been used successfully to promote nightlife, and give people a reason to use our public spaces at night.
“They promote community safety and harmony, as they generally do not sell alcohol, and appeal to all ages, including children and older people. Having this mix of ages mingling of an evening is a powerful contributor to a sense of vibrancy and safety in public spaces.
“Council currently has a Mobile Food Vending Vehicles Policy. This policy outlines prohibitions on where food trucks can trade, and identifies just three locations where mobile kiosks can operate, all of which are day time trading.
“Food trucks are specifically prohibited near council licensed venues in key locations such as Belmore Basin, without regard for trading hours. Some of these locations could and should support evening food trucks without competing with local businesses.
“While Wollongong nightlife has been steadily improving, we still have a long way to go to have a truly vibrant night time economy. Many places along the foreshore are popular in the day but deserted in the evening due to lack of food options.
“This strategy should be aimed at encouraging food trucks, not prohibiting them. It should identify areas in need of night time activation, where they will not compete with bricks and mortar businesses. It should make it easy for food truck vendors to see when and where they can trade, and have a simple process for booking a space and paying fees,” Cr Cox said.
The motion (below) will be debated on Monday night.
I formally move that Council develop a strategy to encourage food trucks in our city to contribute to a vibrant night life in Wollongong.
The strategy to promote food trucks in Wollongong would encompass:
- Identifying public land that is appropriate for food trucks of mobile food vendors
- Identifying spaces in need of night time activation and food options
- Developing a simple process for food trucks to book a space and pay their fee
- Reviewing our existing policy on Mobile Food Vending Vehicles
- Applying learnings from food truck trials in other local government areas such as the City of Sydney
More information: Mithra Cox 0419 720 322
Media Release: Greens call on Government to drop the ban on affordable housing for Wollongong council
The state government ban on Councils mandating affordable housing through local planning controls is hurting residents and lining the pockets of developers, according to Greens Councillor candidate Jamie Dixon.
There is a state-wide planning policy (called SEPP 70 or State Environmental Planning Policy 70) that sets out how councils can require developers to provide affordable housing, but it expressly excluded 95% of councils in NSW and this includes Wollongong.
Wollongong has not been permitted to use SEPP 70 despite writing a lengthy submission and being one of the most unaffordable cities in Australia when you compare wages with house prices.
Greens Councillor Jamie Dixon said:
"There is a housing crisis in Wollongong. People are sleeping in the sand dunes and the picnic shelters at the beach.
"Many others are couch surfing or living day to day with friends, family or in other impermanent accommodation.
"There are virtually no homes for rent in the entire city that are affordable for anyone on Newstart. Even if you are on an average Wollongong wage, you can't afford to buy.
"Yet the state government is actively preventing Council from setting affordable housing goals for major new developments. This is worsening the housing affordability crisis, and only helps big developers maximise their profits," Jamie Dixon said today.
NSW Greens MP and Planning spokesperson David Shoebridge said:
“Across NSW housing costs are spiralling out of control, and Local Councils are at the forefront of addressing this.
“All councils should be allowed to set affordable housing targets for major new developments.
“Housing prices in the Illawarra have skyrocketed in the past ten years, along with the rest of NSW.
"The Greens believe local councils are best place to understand their community's housing needs and set sensible and attainable affordable housing targets so that everyone gets a home," Mr Shoebridge said.
Media Contact: Jamie Dixon 0403 402 114, David Shoebridge 0408 113 952.
Our pledge: politics for the people, not private interests
The Illawarra Greens have today announced their candidates for the state and federal elections, with an industrial engineer, 2 university professionals, an economics student and a shearer set to represent the party.
“We have an incredible team of candidates here and I know each one of them will be standing up for the Illawarra. For too long corporate interests and corporate money have too much influence over how decisions are made, while the community misses out,” Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi said today.
“The big end of town has infected politics and skewed decision making away from the best interests of our community. Why else are we still waiting for a serious climate policy when everyone knows this is the most serious challenge of our generation,” Kaye Osborn, candidate for Keira said.
“As an engineer, I know that we have the technical capacity to reduce climate change impacts o our land and water. What we don’t have is the political will. Renewable energy is rapidly replacing fossil fuel power, but the transition is being slowed by out of touch politicians who are far too cosy with the coal industry,” said Rowan Huxtable, candidate for Wollongong.
“Everyone in our community deserves the opportunity to live a good life. To have a home, a job, an education. Health care in times of need. Instead of providing for everyone, the major parties have let the gap between rich and poor get wider. That’s not economic management, that’s economic injustice,” said Mitchell Shakespeare, candidate for Heathcote.
“Well resourced public education is the key to raising people out of poverty and allowing them to reach their potential. Education should be free, and equally accessible to everyone; regardless of where you are geographically, economically, or socially. Successful educational outcomes start with quality early childhood education and care,” said Jamie Dixon, candidate for the state seat of Shellharbour and the Federal seat of Whitlam.
“We live in a city of a quarter of a million people. And yet we have a train that runs just once an hour or every 2 hours on weekends. It’s simply not good enough in the 21st century. Wollongong deserves a decent public transport network, including fast and frequent trains. It’s not enough to replace a few carriages, we will be campaigning for a proper 21st century public transport network,” said Ben Arcioni, candidate for Wollongong.
High-res Images of Candidates
Mithra Cox (Illawarra Greens) 0425 351 844
Matt Hilton (Senator Faruqi) 0423 106 247