Liverpool Council candidates pledged their support for medical centre drop-off zones at the Liverpool Citizens’ Assembly hosted by the Sydney Alliance on Sunday 26th August.
Sydney Alliance claimed its first successful negotiation with nine leading candidates all agreeing to create new drop off zones in front of all the major medical centres in Liverpool.
It worked because it was run, led and directed by local parishioners, unionists and community organisation leaders.
More than 250 residents of the Liverpool and Fairfield region packed the hall of St Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Lurnea to grill councillors running for the upcoming local government election on 8th September.
The issue was surfaced in a listening campaign run in March 2012 where locals kept recounting horror stories of getting fined for taking elderly loved ones to the doctors. Ian Kern of St Francis Xavier parish recounted how his father’s Parkinsons had been accelerated following a nasty fall as they rushed to get to the doctors after being unable to find a park. Iona Taetuli, a St Francis Xavier parishioner and student at Clancy Catholic College, West Hoxton decided to become involved in the Sydney Alliance when her brother, with a broken hand missed an appointment because of the same issue.
After a two-minute speech, each councillor was asked to commit to actively supporting the introduction of 15-minute pick-up and drop-off zones outside medical services in the Liverpool CBD at the first council meeting of the new term. Wendy Waller, Geoff Shelton and Anne Stanely (ALP), Peter Harle & June Young (LCIT) Ned Mannoun (Lib), Michael Byrne (DLP), John Anderson (ind) and Signe Westerberg (Greens) pledged their support, and Gary Lucas who said he would look into it. All committed to meeting with the Sydney Alliance twice a year.
The event gave locals a chance to meet their community leaders and voice their collective concerns. Transport services for the sick and elderly was identified as a key issue in need of improvement in light of the restricted number of parking spaces available in the Liverpool CBD.
Mayor of Liverpool, Wendy Waller, says the Sydney Alliance is a valuable contribution to grassroots political participation because it represents a “more collective interest” of locals than Council is used to hearing from.
“Sunday’s event saw us engaging with diverse communities from a variety of interest areas and backgrounds rather than the same old faces who are the majority speaking on behalf of the minority,” Ms Waller said. Leading candidates, Ned Mannoun, from the Liberals and June Young, from the Liverpool Community Independent Team also praised the forum
Peter Smith, parish priest of St Francis Xavier and one of the co-ordinators of the Alliance in the Liverpool-Fairfield district, felt the event was an “excellent opportunity for those standing for Council to realise there is a great number of people from disparate backgrounds who are working together to make Liverpool a better place.”
“The candidates for Council have all realised that people are united in what they think and the local people have realised they do have a voice and that the contribution they make is listened to and heard,” Fr Smith said.
This win is the first in a broader strategy of going deep to make change. The alliance has listened to what is going on for people in the suburbs, and now certainly and firmly, this massive coalition of 52 organisations with over 500000 members is bring about positive community change.
Partners who took part in the forum included Unions NSW, United Services Union, Rail, Tram and Bus Union, Construction, Forestry Mining & Energy Union, Cancer Council NSW, Western Sydney Community Forum, Youth Action Policy Association, Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney (Parishes of Lurnea, Miller, Moorebank, Liverpool, Carnes Hill, Holsworthy, Good Samaritan Catholic College Hinchinbrook, Clancy Catholic College West Hoxton & All Saints Catholic College, Casula) Parramatta-Nepean Valley Presbytery of the Uniting Church (Campbelltown Uniting & Abbotsbury Uniting Church) and Arab Council Australia.
The Sydney Alliance brings together diverse community organisations, unions and religious organisations to advance the common good and achieve a fair, just and sustainable city. The Sydney Alliance does this by building trust across diversity, based on strong relationships between and within organisations. The Sydney Alliance is a non-party political organisation building grassroots power that respects the contribution and dignity of all people.