Mar 31, 2011

New Council General Mananger Appointed

Council has appointed a new General Manager who will take over with the current GM, Peter Fitzgerald, retires in the near future. After an exhaustive search, the new General Manager will be Lara Kirchner, currently Deputy General Manager and Director of Corporate Services at Canterbury City Council.

Ms Kirchner has been in that role with Canterbury City Council for the past ten years.  Ms Kirchner began her career at Baulkham Hills Shire Council as an Administrative Officer before serving at Waverley Municipal Council, two years at Canterbury City Council, two years at Energy Australia and then ten years in her current position with Canterbury City Council. Council looks forward to Ms Kirchner joining our organisation and both building on our past stability and injecting her experience. 

Council and the City would not be losing all of Mr Fitzgerald’s experience as he has been appointed the new Chair of the Sydney Airport Community Forum.  The Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, the Hon Anthony Albanese MP, in his announcement acknowledged Mr Fitzgerald’s role as Council General Manager as well as the Mayor of Drummoyne and his active involvement as Executive Director of the Australian Mayoral Aviation Council – AMAC.  There is perhaps no other person more eminently suited for this role and, on behalf of Council and our community, I offer my personal congratulations to my friend and colleague, Peter Fitzgerald

Aircraft Noise Complaints ­ and the handling

We need to look at the way aircraft noise complaints are fobbed off.
That complaints about aircraft noise are simply recorded by Airservices Australia and not investigated came to light through a review of complaints handling by the Aircraft Noise Ombudsman, Ron Brent.
It was an achievement of the Australian Mayoral Aviation Council (AMAC), which I Chair that the Australian Government appointed an Aircraft Noise Ombudsman.
On a number of occasions at AMAC conferences I informed delegates representing local government across Australia with airports within their boundaries that the appointment of a suitably empowered and independent noise ombudsman was a consistent and a long-term goal of the organization.
The system of managing legitimate aircraft noise complaints has, to date, been seriously flawed while a robust system for taking action against unconscionable beaches of regulations and operating procedures has been all but non-existent.
I’ve said that on a number of occasions and the review of complaints handling undertaken by Mr Brent and released recently supports unreservedly my position.
I have had no doubts of Mr. Brent’s experience and aptitude in his challenging role but he needed to change the mindset and lack of accountability that has been the hallmark of our aviation industry over decades. Mr Brent needed to break down entrenched practices and build a practical working relationship between the aviation industry and the community.
The report of his review shows he has met our expectations.
Rather than just recording complaints, what Mr Brent has recommended is a “solution-driven approach to aircraft noise complaints …”.
What he means is a new approach by Airservices Australia.
Instead of just logging complaints, he is suggesting that Airservices actually investigate those complaints.
To me that seems not only logical but displaying admirable common sense.
In his recommendations, Mr Brent suggests that Airservices seize opportunities to improve noise outcomes for those impacted by aircraft noise almost every hour of every day.
All we need now to see is adoption of Mr Brent’s recommendations by Airservices.

Mar 29, 2011

New Leadership at Sydney Airport Community Forum

I am pleased to be able to formally advise Council that the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, the Hon Anthony Albanese MP, has announced the new Chair of the Sydney Airport Community Forum – and the new incumbent is none other than our own General Manager, Mr Peter Fitzgerald. Let me quote a couple of paragraphs from the Minister’s letter:
Mr Fitzgerald has had a long involvement with Sydney Airport both as a local resident and as General Manager of the City of Botany Bay.
Mr Fitzgerald brings a wealth of experience to the role as a neighbour of Sydney Airport through decades of service to Botany Council and many years involvement with SACF.  He has been instrumental in establishing a constructive dialogue with the airport and the community in working through issues that impact upon residents.”

In his media release, the Minister also acknowledged Mr Fitzgerald’s role as the Mayor of Drummoyne and his active involvement as Executive Director of the Australian Mayoral Aviation Council – AMAC.
As Mr Fitzgerald heads towards his final days as General Manager of our Council, it is fitting that he will remain associated with us and our community in this new role.
Knowing him as we all do, this is Mr Fitzgerald’s idea of retirement – a new job.
Mr Fitzgerald has a passion for aviation – and it’s not just travelling in aircraft. From his days as Mayor of Drummoyne and throughout his career in state and local government there has always been an aviation component.
If it hasn’t been guiding AMAC or driving a city administration of an area that half surrounds Australia’s biggest airport, it has been how to work with the airport and ensure the airport works with its surrounding community.
That, as the Minister acknowledges and we know personally, Mr Fitzgerald has done.
There is perhaps no other person more eminently suited for this role and, on behalf of Council and our community, I offer my personal congratulations to my friend and colleague, Peter Fitzgerald.
We will not be losing Peter Fitzgerald in retirement – we will be getting you in a new, and important, community role.

Mar 27, 2011

Council's Six Aside Soccer - Winners of Division 1 "Up in Smoke"

Division 1 Winners with Mayor Ron Hoenig. Zoran Karanfilovski, Sash Stevoski, Hassan Chamseddine, Same Chamseddine, Alex Christodoulou, Heath Millard, Nick Kynezos and Michael Di Meglio.

Council's National Trust Heritage Festival

Youth Week is not the only celebration scheduled for April – we’ve also got the National Trust Heritage Festival, which will be focussed on the George Hanna Memorial Museum at Mascot Library and in the Central Library at Eastgardens.

At the museum we’re asking locals to share their stories of the area.  Bring in your stories of old Botany, Mascot and our other suburbs, photographs or any object with a bit of history.  His way we keep finding out new bits of our local history. Bring your stories and anything else along to the museum on Wednesday April 13 at 10.00am and share them – there’s also some morning tea as part of Heritage Week. Over at the Central Library at Eastgardens shopping centre, we’ve organised a talk on the emergence and the disappearance of Lauriston Park.

Never heard of Lauriston Park? Well before Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport grew and grew, there was a few streets and some homes that was Lauriston Park.  All the airline terminals were along a street which was backed by houses.  The airport’s growth swallowed up the houses and the old suburb of Lauriston Park.

On Saturday April 9 at 2.00pm, Lauriston Park will re-emerge for the afternoon with a talk, photographs, maps and some oral history.  The event is free but you will have to book. For information on either of the National Trust Heritage Week events, contact the staff at both libraries and the museum or call 9366 3888

Council's Youth Week Art Competition

I have mentioned previously the events and activities for this year’s Youth Week, which kicks off on Friday April 1. One of the core activities of Youth Week is our annual Youth Week is the Youth Week Art Competition. Each year we pick a topic or an idea and then let our local youth interpret it via art.  We have different sections for different age groups and anyone aged between 12 and 24 can take part.  A3 is our limit in size but anything up to that will get you in the competition and eligible for the prizes.  This year what you need to reflect in art is Hip Hop – a subject that opens up more than a few opportunities.  Express yourself and have some fun.  All entries must be in by 4pm Thursday March 31 at the Community Service s Section at the Central Library in Eastgardens Shopping Centre.  All the entries go on exhibition at the library between Saturday April 2 and Sunday April 10 as part of the library’s celebration of Youth Week.  Get in the spirit of hip hop and shows us all your skills as artists.

Leash Free Area Sir Joseph Banks Park, Botany nearing completion

Mar 23, 2011

Local Government and International Affairs

Loath as I am to get involved in the affairs of other local councils, I do feel, however, that the involvement of local government in international affairs, unless one is cautious and informed can be seen to be inappropriate. To do otherwise leaves local councils open to accusations of taking actions as far from its core responsibility as possible.  Our core responsibility as local government is usually just that – government within a local context.

Keeping streets clean, picking up the garbage, oversighting local planning, providing parks and recreation area, looking after the very young and the elderly and those in between – these are the responsibilities of local government. I have no problem in local government keeping a voice in the affairs and directions of the tiers of government allegedly above us – state and national.  

Going beyond the national government and into the affairs and decisions of foreign government can be seen to be way beyond the remit and purview of local government. We can, as individuals, have our own opinions on the actions and directions of foreign governments but we should not take local government down that path, unless we are informed.  We have a responsibility to our local communities on local affairs – not usually international affairs.

We have a responsible and recognised voice in those two other tiers of government, but generally on issues and matters that relate to our local communities.  There have been notable exceptions; such as the positions council’s around the world took on apartheid and climate change. Those positions drove much of the international sentiment at the time.  Those views were right, informed and residents from cities around the world gave support, for example, in the anti apartheid position of national governments that overcame their economic considerations.  Something similar is yet to happen with climate change.

However, I feel that the campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel that has been initiated by Marrickville Council is out of place in the confines of local government. The same can be said for the same Council’s views on the Peoples’ Republic of China and Tibet.

A boycott of things Israeli and, perhaps, Chinese by the good Council at Marrickville is symbolism at its worst. It is uninformed and ineffectual symbolism. Such symbolism has no place in local government.

Mar 22, 2011

Vacation Care

The school holidays aren’t that far away and Council will be operating the usual vacation care program, but this time it will be at Botany Public School. The program will run for nine days – from Monday April 11 to Thursday April 21. It’s for school aged children up to 13 years old. Because of building works being carried out at Pagewood Public School we’ve changed the venue to Botany Public. Vacation care will operate between 7.00am to 6.00pm each day and the children will have a range of daily activities. Our theme for this vacation care is “Hopping into Fantasyland” and will include lots of activities about fantasy and fairy tales.  I’ll provide more details in coming weeks but for an information pack call Sherryl on 93663576 or Grace on 96666128 between the hours of 3.00pm and 6.00pm. Via the internet you can check out the program and download relevant forms at: The forms and program can be found in the Community Services section.

Mar 20, 2011

Youth Week

We’ll be holding our annual Youth Week in a couple of weeks and I thought it was time to let all our local youth know what will be happening this year. Youth Week begins on Friday April 1 (and it’s not for April fools) and runs through to Sunday April 10.  Our youth workers have organised a number of events and activities, beginning with the ever-popular ten pin bowling competition.  All you need to do is get together your own group of six players, register with us and have fun with a free game, food and drinks.  You can represent a school, church group, youth centre (and ours will be represented) or just a group of friends.  The Eastlakes and Botany youth centres will be running special comp days with free BBQ’s, drinks and prizes for pool, table tennis and ps2 competitions. There’s our annual art competition (details below) and a special free movie night for young people who live in our City.  For all information, and to register for the ten pin bowling competition, contact Patrick or Yasemin on 9366 3889.  They’ll be able to give you as much information as you want.

Street repairs King Street/Alfred Street, Mascot

Over the next couple of weeks Sydney water is undertaking major repairs of water and sewerage lines in King Street, Mascot at the corner of Alfred Street.  What Sydney Water is repairing is the damage to the road caused by leaking pipes – some of which date back 50 to 100 years.  The pipes leak and undermine the road surface.  There will be traffic control in operation and we’d ask everyone to be careful while this major and necessary work in undertaken.

Mar 18, 2011

Unauthorised use of our parks

Our City’s parks and recreational areas are valuable community assets – provided by Council for the community. What we’ve been seeing lately is a rise in the number of residents reporting the unauthorised use of parks and recreational areas by groups and personal trainers.  We have a system where we take bookings (and receive fees) for use of the recreational areas, with priority given to local community and sporting groups. Council encourages our local kids and families to use our parks, but what we do object to is the use of our community paid for facilities by groups who don’t bother to make a booking or pay what is a reasonable fee.  Our rangers are always out and about and if they receive a report of, or see, unauthorised use of our community’s facilities they will step in.

Mar 16, 2011

City of Botany Bay Community Report

council’s 2010 Report to the Community is available for download at

You can either download the report or read it online. I hope you find it informative.

For residents you should receive your copy in the next few days. Extra copies are available from my office by calling 9366 3600 or council libraries.

Paddys Day Brekkie

This coming Thursday is St Patrick’s Day (I’m only writing this for those of non-Irish decent) and there’s a special breakfast being held for a special group of people. 

Windgap, which does a great job of helping people with disabilities, is using St Patrick’s Day to raise some much needed funds.  The breakfast will be held at the Randwick Labor Club on Alison Road and kicks off at 7.30am and goes until 11 am.  There’s an Irish buffet breakfast, entertainment by Shindig, a traditional Irish band, a dancing lesson by Currie Henderson Irish Dancers, a raffle and each guest will receive a free pint of Guinness in a special collectable glass. 

It will be a fun morning and it is in a great cause.  It’s $40 per person or $400 for a table of 10 and you can book by calling Jane or Noreen at Windgap on 8337 3600.  Windgap is one of Sydney’s most respected and longest serving provider of support services for people with intellectual disabilities and their families.

Mar 12, 2011


In the past week on two occasions the cost of non immunisation has been brought graphically home to me – once on TV and once personally.  The death of a baby in Melbourne from whooping cough was covered extensively on the TV news and the heartache those parents must have felt is something I cannot comprehend.  I’ve seen sickness in my boys but never something that could have been averted.

The second incident was a friend of mine who had to cancel a visit because she thought her son might have the same affliction.  Whooping cough and a myriad of other disease have been dramatically reduced by immunisation.  But they are on the rise because speculation, rumour and misguided beliefs have led some parents not to immunise their children.  Such action can cause illness and even death in other children.

Council holds monthly free immunisation clinics on the first Thursday of each month in three locations – Mascot early Childhood Centre, 51 Coward Street, Mascot between 9.00am and 10.00am; the Central Library, Ground Floor Eastgardens Shopping Centre between 2.00pm and 3.0pm and again between 6.00pm and 7.00pm.  If you need any more details on the next clinics or any other information, contact Council’s health services staff on 9366 3666. Do it for your children and other children.

Metrobus Route extension

Congratulations to the State Government, our local member Michael Daley for the extension of State Transit Authority the Metrobus Route 20 from Mascot to the Botany shops. This was something that the community not only wanted but had worked to achieve.  It means extra capacity for passengers travelling between the City of Sydney and Botany. It will also allow Route 20 to have a common stop with Route 400 at the shops in Mascot.  There are a few things Council will do to assist (change some signs and extend bus zones) but these are not really difficult and we’ll work with State Transit to improve local services. The better the bus service the more people will leave cars at home and use public transport – and good win for all of us.

National Freight Strategy

Several weeks ago the Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Anthony Albanese, released the long awaited National Freight Strategy – and for us it has real ramifications.  The strategy is allied to the previously released National Ports Strategy and combined they aim to be principal drivers for our national economy. A similar freight strategy for NSW is due to be released in the very near future – and the state and national strategies should complement each other and can get our national freight networks fully efficient and operational.

It is sobering to understand that containers crossing our wharves (and Port Botany is second to the Port of Melbourne in import/export throughput) will rise by 150 per cent between now and 2030 and that air freight will increase by 110 per cent in the same period.  The new terminal at Port Botany is nearing completion and the number of containers handled by the expanded port will increase to 3.2 million a year. We need the freight networks and we need to get Port Botany’s containers on to rail and off our roads.  If we don’t we’ll see more than 1,000,000 to 1,500,000 more container trucks on our roads and clogging up the M5East.  

One thing that did concern me in the National Freight Strategy was the suggestion that B-Triples will me allowed on more roads, including those connected to ports.  For Sydney this means the M5East, Southern Cross Drive and the Eastern Distributor.  Put B-Triples on these roads and the congestion we currently have will seem like nothing.  The Australian Government must link both rail and road upgrades with any implementation of its freight and port strategies.  If not then we’re facing a congestion disaster. Knowing Anthony Albanese, and with my involvement in the NSW Freight Advisory Council, I know action on increasing rail as a freight transport mode is a given.  It’s action on roads, like the M5East that must come as well.

Mar 7, 2011

Update of Council Park Improvements

There has been a fair bit of work on some of our parks over summer and new equipment and facilities are either finished or just about ready.  I though it worth an update as I know how popular our playgrounds are with locals, especially the young.

The new playground in Bridget Tight Reserve in Eastlakes is finished with a circular swing and the spider man climbing added to this popular venue.  The circular swing allows a number of young children to enjoy themselves as a group while the spider man climbing allows for individual fun and there are special facilities for parent and carer supervision.

At the Botany Aquatic Centre, the new playground equipment under the trees is increasing the attraction of one of our City’s popular recreational venues.  This is for the younger children with “bouncies”, climbing and the swing.  Again we’re matching equipment with demand.

The new playground at Sir Joseph Banks Park is aimed at the under 6’s and if the numbers now going there are any indication of success then we have a winner.  There are climbing bits, ropes, ladders, swings, “bouncies” and more along with a shaded area where parents and carers can keep an eye on the kids.  The special feature here is the water trickle that allows a few mud pies and fun with splashes of water.  This is one feature I think the kids like more than the parents and carers but to hear the squeals and laughter makes a bit of cleaning up more than worth while.

Mar 6, 2011

Slight change to garbage/recycling this week

If your garbage and recycling is collected on a Friday, there won’t be any collection this week.  We’ll pick up the garbage and the recycling the following day, Saturday March 12.

Getting rid of things unwanted

I’ve had a few calls following my comments on rubbish dumping.  I’ve had one good suggestion in that rather than dump unwanted stuff in the street (where Council has to pick it up and dispose of it), the unwanted stuff – as long as it’s in good order – can be advertised on-line using  You never know you might be able to get a few dollars for what you thought was junk.  Of course, there will still be some inconsiderate people who just dump their stuff in the street and expect someone else (like Council) to clean up after them.  I’m happy to push this internet site as it might reduce some of the unwanted household items currently being dumped off the streets.

Open Day at Prince of Wales

The Prince of Wales Hospital, which plays a vital role in our community, has planned a series of sessions at the hospital so that the community can have a better understanding of how this community health asset works. The hospital has chosen a number of medical specialists, leaders in their field, to showcase the work and the research being performed at the hospital. At each session there is a question and answer session where you can ask questions or make comments on what you’ve just heard.  

Under the banner of “Your Health Your Hospital” the presentations and discussions sessions have been organised by the Prince of Wales Hospital Foundation and sponsored by the Rotary Club of Botany Bay – and we thank them for their support. The next session is “Age Care, Delirium vs. Dementia and will be presented by Professor Gideon Caplan.  It will be held on April 28 at the hospital in the Edmund Blacket Function Room and you can let them know you’d like to attend by calling Tanya on 9382 4263.  The sessions begin at 5.30pm for a 6.00pm start and light refreshments will be served. The next session is scheduled for June and I’ll let everyone know well in advance.