My vision for Brunswick

14 Nov 2022

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A lot has changed since I was elected in 2018.

But my vision for Brunswick remains one where you can easily walk to a beautiful green space, safely ride your bike to the shops, or hop onto frequent, accessible public transport – perhaps to catch a gig on Sydney Rd. 

Together, we can build a better Brunswick for all of us!

I’ve lived here for over 30 years and I know this is a place that welcomes everyone. I know we understand the big issues. And we like to look after our neighbours – including by tackling the climate crisis and making housing more affordable for everyone. 

My Track Record

It has been my privilege to work closely with community members on a wide variety of local campaigns. 

Together, we’ve achieved some good things. Here’s a small selection of my favourite local moments:

  • Safer speed limits on Nicholson St
  • Increased services on the 505 bus 
  • New senior building and rooftop learning space for Merri Creek Primary School in the 2022 state budget 
  • $1.5 million worth of maintenance and tree planting in Melbourne General Cemetery
  • An $8.4 million commitment from the state government to fix up Carlton North Primary School
  • Bicycle-friendly speed humps to slow traffic at the Nicholson St/Albion St bends
  • A new raised pedestrian crossing outside Pascoe Vale South Primary School
  • reduced daytime speed limit on St George’s Rd to improve road safety near Merri Creek Primary School
  • A new pedestrian crossing on Moreland Road (coming soon!)
  • New public art from young local artists to promote safe cycling in the electorate
  • Helping people get home across Australia and all over the world during border closures.
  • Helping deliver security services for public housing.
  • Working with the community on the movement to fix Sydney Road for all users.

My local priorities are:

Click the links above or read on for more detail on each of these priorities.

Safe, accessible roads and sustainable transport for all

Protecting road users and promoting active transport improves health, reduces traffic congestion and improves air quality.

Like lots of people in the inner north, I ride my bike most places. I know people in Brunswick want protected bike lanes, wider footpaths, accessible tram stops and more trees.

Public transport and active transport (like walking, riding and scooting) are the best transport modes to address current and future congestion in Brunswick.

More people ride their bike to work from Brunswick than from anywhere in Australia and that means fewer cars on the road and more available car parks. 

But the danger of sharing roads with cars still holds a lot of people back from riding. Parents are worried about their kids getting to school safely. 

We all agree that the Upfield train doesn’t come often enough. And our trams don’t cater for people with mobility needs on the major routes.

I’ll keep fighting for protected bike lanes, accessible tram stops, reasonable speed limits, and better lighting, signs, traffic signalling, and intersection treatments to make our roads and paths safer for everyone.

My plan includes:

  • Sydney Road and Glenlyon Road protected bike lanes, and an end-to-end protected bike route for commuting to the CBD.
  • Accessible tram stops on Sydney and Lygon Streets.
  • A duplicated Upfield rail track and level crossings ready for 10 minute trains.
  • More pedestrian crossings and lowered speed limits

World-class public schools

Every child should be able to go to a good school with facilities that are up to scratch.

The Brunswick electorate is home to 12 excellent government schools. 

My kids are government school educated, and since being elected I’ve had the opportunity to meet even more parents, students and staff who all want the best for Brunswick’s schools. 

But we know Victorian public schools are chronically under-funded, and some Brunswick schools have been neglected. 

I’ve visited every school, and seen leaking roofs, rotting roof timbers, flooding, windows that don’t open, peeling paint, accessibility issues, and broken heating systems in the middle of winter.

It’s unacceptable to use funds raised by parents for basic maintenance of these heritage buildings.

Brunswick needs its public schools to be funded appropriately to create a safe, supportive learning environment for students and staff. 

Some primary schools in the Brunswick district urgently require about $500,000 each for roof maintenance, or playground drainage and repairs. The Greens’ costed platform includes this amount for each of Brunswick East Primary School, Princes Hill Primary School and Brunswick South Primary School.

Larger scale works are needed at Brunswick North Primary School and Fitzroy North Primary School both require larger scale work to progress their redevelopment master plans and carry out maintenance or landscaping. Our platform includes $3 million for each of these schools.

We also allocate $1 million to Brunswick Secondary College for their Wellbeing Hub to accommodate mental health professionals who support many of their students.

Developments for people and planet, not profits

We can make new developments work for us, not against us.

When I speak to people around the Brunswick electorate, the thing I hear often is that apartments are going up faster than our public transport, schools and facilities can cope with.

For too long, big property developers with too much influence have been allowed to shape our suburbs without giving back to our community. We’ve seen this recently, with overly tall apartment buildings being approved between Clifton and Gilpin Parks and likely to be approved next to Princes Park despite pleas from residents to keep them just a couple of storeys lower. And at times, even when Council knocks back an application citing community concerns, we’ve seen the Planning Minister step in to greenlight it anyway.

There are a growing number of well-designed, sustainable and appropriate developments in Brunswick, but some developers will push any grey area in the regulatory process to maximise profit, while communities and councils can’t keep up with the demand. Residents in newly high-density areas find themselves squeezed into packed streets with little in the way of greenery or space for pedestrians. Meanwhile, the developers pocket their millions and move on to the next project. 

We want to tighten the planning rules to make them clear for everyone, and fair for communities.

Clear rules can make it so that new developments are helpful, not harmful, to our growing community. This includes essential points such as mandatory height limits or maximum density levels for approved areas, and minimum apartment sizes to avoid cheap shoe-boxes that reduce overall liveability in communities. And all levels of government should work together to ensure green space and amenity around new developments. While we’re at it, we’ll make housing fairer and more affordable, too.

The Greens’ plan includes: 

  • Supporting the Council Alliance for a Sustainable Built Environment’s work to include environmental considerations in the Victorian state planning scheme 
  • Fairer Housing, including:
    • Building more affordable housing 
    • Limiting rent increases, so rents are more affordable
    • Cooling standards and insulation for rental homes 
    • An end to unfair housing tax breaks for wealthy investors and property developers.

Beautiful green spaces and protected waterways

Let’s make Brunswick an oasis for people, plants and animals.

Having great parks and green spaces in the Brunswick electorate will be even more important as our population grows. We need places where people can exercise, run the dog and spend some time outside away from buildings.

And we’re not the only ones who call this place home. Our precious native wildlife – both on land and in the nearby Merri Creek and Moonee Ponds Creek – need a safe, healthy habitat, too.

Brunswick needs protected green spaces and healthy waterways to support the people, plants and animals who live here.

Together, we can protect our community parks, plant more trees, protect and renew our creeks, and transform Melbourne General Cemetery into a green oasis.

The Greens’ plan includes: 

  • Greening Melbourne General Cemetery
  • Ensuring that the new Skyrail includes green space for the community, including creating a green corridor along the Breese St developments
  • Protect and renew Merri Creek & Moonee Ponds Creek
  • Protect our parks from being overshadowed by any more new developments
  • Plant more trees on Sydney Road
  • Fully funding CERES Environment Park’s vision for a Community Enterprise Precinct

A vibrant arts scene

Let’s support the artists and creatives who make our community feel like home.

The Brunswick electorate has a proud history of nurturing and supporting artists in our community. We take pride in our vibrant, colourful streets and galleries, and we love that we can take our pick of live music, comedy or theatre in a fantastic venue any night of the week. For many of us, the arts scene is part of why we choose to live here.

Brunswick’s creatives have given us so much. But over the last few years, their valuable contributions have gone largely unappreciated and unsupported. The effects of the pandemic meant that artists, performers and venues went without income for long periods of time, and even after things began to open up, they were impacted by limited capacity and density requirements. Even now, people who work in the arts are left out of important state government initiatives like the Victorian Sick Pay Guarantee.

Without adequate supports in place, many of Brunswick’s artists and venue operators are still struggling. Let’s help them thrive.

The Greens’ plan includes: 

  • Artist wage for Brunswick creatives
  • Commissioning new public art
  • Sick Pay for the Arts
  • Support and funding for publicly accessible art and performances
  • Business support and grants for venues

Clean, green energy to power our community

We need to replace coal and gas with 100% renewable energy by 2030, and we can start right here in Brunswick. 

Coal and gas are the leading causes of the climate crisis. But Labor and the Liberals are pouring more fuel on the fire by backing even more of these fossil fuels. 

Labor is fast-tracking gas drilling near the 12 Apostles, in the wild Southern Ocean, and it doesn’t have a plan to get out of coal. 

The next state government needs to do better. But we don’t have to wait for them. While the Greens and I push for change in Parliament, there’s plenty we can do here at home – like getting Brunswick Baths off gas, putting in new EV charging stations, and making sure our statewide energy supply comes from renewables, not fossil fuels.

These measures will connect and power our community, reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, lower our energy bills, and send a clear message to the government that people in the Brunswick electorate want real action on renewables.

Together, we can push the next government to go further and faster on tackling the climate crisis – starting in our own backyard. 

The Greens plan includes: 

  • Electric vehicle charging stations
  • Getting Brunswick Baths off gas – we’ll commit $3 million towards this.
  • Helping Brunswick homes and businesses Get Off Gas

If you’d like any more info on any of these policies, feel free to get in touch at [email protected].

And you can explore the Victorian Greens complete policy platform here.

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