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06 Apr 2020

April Newsletter

At our last Council meeting, we unanimously agreed to provide support for local businesses and our community and cultural sectors left devastated by the loss of work due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The City of Sydney's Small Business, Cultural and Creative Support Package will provide $72.5m of support, including over $8m in direct grants.

Some of the measures include:

👷Fast-tracking $23m worth of City infrastructure spending on parks, pavements and community centres to stimulate the City's local economy, providing jobs and leaving a legacy of infrastructure for the public good;

💼Establishing a small business grants program to assist businesses with innovation and adaptation;

📞Establishing a small business concierge service to assist small businesses, not-for-profits and charity groups to access support available to them via the city, state or federal governments;

🎭Establishing a cultural sector resilience grants program to provide support to the not-for-profit organisations and sole traders working in the cultural sector;

🎨Funding City donations to locally operated sector led funds, including Support Act, Artists' Benevolent Fund and Actors Benevolent Fund, to provide emergency relief and mental health support to local cultural workers in crisis;

🖼️Establishing a creative fellowships grants program to support artists;

🏗️Adopting a sliding scale for our CBD Contributions Plan 2020 for developer contributions;

☎️Establishing a community hotline that handles inquiries and provides concierge services to residents and community groups seeking information and support;

🥗Expanding Meals on Wheels;

🛒Providing $1 million to OzHarvest to meet food security needs of our vulnerable communities;

Unfortunately, most of this support won't be available till Mid-May.

I encourage all those eligible to apply as soon as applications open on 6th April, 2020.

Rest assured, I will be calling on the City to bring forward some if not all of this assistance.


Coronavirus Precaution in Strata Apartments

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Many of us live in apartments, and this poses an added challenge in limiting the spread of coronavirus in the Australian community because of shared spaces like entrance lobbies, lifts, hallways and recreational areas.

With increased density comes increased possibility of contact with someone infected with the virus Or a surface with the virus on it.

What extra precautions does your building need to take to keep everyone safe?

I know a number of strata communities have already formulated their own protocols.

It’s really important for governments to quickly establish some clear, consistent guidelines to help strata communities keep their residents as safe as possible.

Here are some of the areas that I think need attention:

🧹Cleaning routines: what is the best practice for frequency of cleaning and types of cleaning products to be used on various surfaces and high touch areas like lift buttons and door handles?

✋Provision and use of hand sanitiser at the front entry of the building and in common areas.

👫Limiting the number of people in a lift to no more than two to enable physical distancing.

🏢What special precautions should be taken by people entering the building when they have just been told to self-isolate?

🔑What special precautions are needed with inspections for rental or sale of a property?

📦What about deliveries?😷What can be done safely to provide support and services for anyone who is self-isolating?

🗑️What are the protocols for managing garbage from an apartment where a resident has tested positive?

⚠️What alerts should be given to building management?

🚫Should short stay rentals should be restricted?

This is a new and rapidly evolving issue and I think strata communities would appreciate clear guidance in these area so I have put this forward for discussion at Council tonight.

Meanwhile, if you live in a strata community, check what precautions are being taken in your building to keep you safe.


CDC Recommends Face Masks in Public to Reduce Covid-19 Spread

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in the USA has recommended that people wear a mask in public. They have specified people wear a cloth mask.

This has nothing to do with the effectiveness of one type of mask over another. This is to preserve the medical grade surgical masks and N95 respirators for frontline healthcare workers who are most at risk.

The idea is to prevent the spread of the virus in the community from people who are carriers who may or may not have symptoms...Particularly in situations where it is difficult to achieve physical distancing.

If you do wear a cloth mask in public -- and I recommend that you do -- you will need to wash it in warm soapy water after each outing.

We are waiting for a new recommendation from Australian health authorities on detailed like exactly which cloth and how fine the weave would need to be, because we do need some clarity on this.

In my view this is a common sense recommendation to add to other measures like staying at home, physical distancing and hand washing.

Here is a site that provides instructions on how to make a cloth mask at home.  


Coal Mining Approved under Sydney Drinking Water Catchment 

In other news, the Berejiklian government has given the nod for the extension of coal mining under one of Greater Sydney's reservoirs, the first such approval in two decades.

The Planning Department earlier this month told Peabody Energy it could proceed with the extraction of coal from three new longwalls, two of which will go beneath Woronora reservoir.

Woronora reservoir is one of Sydney’s key drinking water catchments.

This decision to allow coal mining under the Woronora reservoir poses a direct threat to the drinking water of millions of Sydneysiders.

The full impacts of the underground mining operations will not be known for several decades, and changes in the geological structures below the dam could continue well after the final coal has been extracted from the site.

The roof of the mine has the potential to collapse if abandoned, meaning the threat of contamination to Sydney's water supply will remain indefinitely.

Today, I am asking Council to pressure the NSW Government to reverse its decision on the long wall coal mine approval under Woronora reservoir.

Greenpeace Australia Pacific is supporting my motion. 

Greenpeace spokesperson Jonathan Moylan says:

“The Department’s decision to allow coal mining under the Worona Reservoir poses a threat to the drinking water of tens of thousands of Sydneysiders. The roof of the mine could collapse if it is abandoned, which means the threat of contamination could linger over Sydney’s water supply indefinitely.

“Thousands of people, fearful for their drinking water, triggered a Parliamentary debate on Peabody’s dangerous plan, that was only cancelled due to the Covid-19 crisis.

The Berejiklian government's decision to allow coal mining under the Worona Reservoir poses a direct threat to our drinking water. We cannot let this happen.

As always, I am available if you have any comments on these or any other issues.

Please stay safe and do contact me if I can be of help,  [email protected]

Kind regards,