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SSC Newspaper : JUNE 2012
By Bernadette Chua Minister for Planning and Infrastructure Brad Hazzard has requested a public meeting so Strath eld residents can voice their concerns over the Australian Catholic University's (ACU) proposed expansion plans. e Planning Assessment Commission will make the nal decision on the development. "Minister Hazzard has heard the message from the community and requested the Planning Assessment Commission conduct a meeting on the issues," says a spokesperson for Hazzard. "He certainly would prefer all the issues are in the public space in the interest of the applicant, the ACU and the community," the spokesperson says. "Planning and developments should be undertaken transparently." e news will disappoint because at a public hearing there's an opportunity to present evidence to the PAC and to question the university's representatives on their evidence. At a public meeting, residents and Council would be given limited opportunities to properly represent the interest of the residents. is month, Strath eld Council will seek a summons instructing the ACU to hand over documents which show the university's enrollment numbers. If the Land and Environment Court rule in council's favour, the ACU could be forced to cut the number of students on its Strath eld campus so it does not exceed its quota. Under the current consents from council, the ACU is allowed no more than 510 students during the day and 247 during the evening. Council's independent tra c counts found the university had breached the number of students it is allowed on campus. In May, Council announced it would be seeking legal action against the university. Mayor, Cr Paul Barron said at a special public meeting that council had su cient evidence to show the university is in breach of its consent. "We have given the university a chance and asked it to bring its student numbers back to the allowed level," Cr Barron told the hearing. " ey have been very uncooperative, so we need to take action." • Strath eld Council sent residents a le er concerning the Australian Catholic University's (ACU) expansion plans by mistake. Council will send out a le er in apology to ensure residents are not under the impression any DAs will be considered before the Department of Planning and In astructure has reviewed the Concept Plan. Council have established a hotline: 9748 9603. JUNE 2012 NEWS 8 Strathfield Scene Minister orders meeting over ACU ALL AGES ALL FITNESS LEVELS SUNDAY 24 JUNE FRESHWATER PARK STRATHFIELD FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO REGISTER VISIT WWW.COOKSRIVERFUNRUN.COM.AU 5KM RUN 5KM WALK 10KM RUN Liberal candidates for Strath eld's local council LIBE LCANDIDATESfor thisSeptember's elections are likely to be announced as early as this weekend a er what one senior member of the party described as a "botch up". Liberal Party head o ce is believed to have inter vened to pick candidates a er discovering the Strath eld South branch had failed to hold an annual meeting, meaning its decision could be challenged in the courts. Of the Liberals' current councillors, only former Mayor Tony Maroun is still in contention. Cr Bill Carney is not standing and Cr Helen McLucas is running on her own ticket. e Strath eld South branch had been the subject of rumours about candidates being "parachuted in". Members include local MP Charles Casuscelli and Federal Reid candidate Craig Laundy. e problems have delayed candidates' announcements, allowing Labor to produce their new team and get a lead on meeting residents. e Labor team has already started door-knocking. Casuscelli says he expects an announcement this weekend, though he admits candidates were still being approached. "If agreement is not reached, we'll have a pre-selection," he tells the Scene. " ere are tickets being put together and we are going for endorsements -- they are people from across the branch, di erent factions. If an agreement is not reached, we'll have a pre-selection. I'm not fussed either way." Asked about the involvement of Liberal Party headquarters, Casuscelli maintains: "Head o ce deals with all processes." By Peter Lynch and Bernadette Chua Strath eld electors are expected to face a whole new crop of local council candidates who are sur ng the wave of people power created by the very public rebellion over the expansion plans at the Australian Catholic University. While grassroots politics has been a powerful force in other areas of Sydney, Strath eld has remained largely immune, voting instead along the traditional political lines for Labor or Liberal, or pu ing ercely independent candidates into the chamber. Two groups are emerging as the most important players: the ACU protestors themselves, and another issue-based body called Strath eld First, who are determined to champion Strath eld against any possible amalgamation with other councils. A commi ee of 15 running the anti-ACU development campaign was meeting as the Scene went to press. ey were to decide whether they would run as well as the format of any potential campaign. It is believed that their political ght will be headed by Jane Pistolese, the Barker Road resident who has been at the forefront of the campaign, tirelessly le erbox- dropping, researching and organising meetings. But there is concern as to who will run the actual anti-ACU campaign, if it gets o the ground. e have yet to rm up a name, but are believed to be considering Strath eld Residents Action Group or Anti-ACU Residents Action Group. ey anticipate the campaign against the university's $55 million expansion plans to be a long one, but are also thought to be planning to broaden their issues across a spectrum of Strath eld problems, including the implementation of the new Local Environmental Plan. If they endorse ghting a political campaign, Pistolese, a mother of four daughters, is likely to be able to call on former councillor David Starr, a Strath eld veteran of the political scene, and current Mayor Cr Paul Barron. Cr Barron, a er eight years of service on the council, is believed to have indicated he'd like to go last on the ticket, almost certainly meaning he won't be re-elected. Strath eld First is the brainchild of Cr Helen McLucas, who told the Scene her main platform was anti-amalgamation, as she fears the State government's recent move to call for an inquiry into council mergers meant it was back on the agenda. Cr McLucas, who joined the council as a Liberal a er a by-election following Danny Lim's removal, is also determined to run a platform of ge ing politics out of local government and replacing it with an emphasis on the needs of the community. " e aim of Strath eld First is to take the People power " e residents have combined together tobean unstoppable force."