Vote 1 Sue Bolton — Keep a progressive voice on council

Moreland Councillor and Socialist Alliance member Sue Bolton will be standing for re-election in October 2016.

The election of Sue to the Moreland council in 2012 was significant for several reasons. She campaigned strongly on a platform of putting the needs of ordinary residents and the community ahead of the tide of greed-driven developer projects that are changing Moreland for the worse.

Sue brought to her position a long history of activism in the refugee, anti-racist, workers rights and other movements. She is a leader of the Socialist Alliance in Melbourne.

We need a progressive advocate and activist on council. Join the campaign to help get Sue Bolton re-elected in October 2016. In the face of a concerted campaign by the major parties to regain her seat on council, getting Sue re-elected will not be easy.

We need everyone who values her presence on council to get involved on some level. (You don’t have to live in her North-East Ward to help).

To support the campaign to re-elect Sue Bolton, phone 0413 377 978 or contact Sue via Facebook.

Sue’s record as a councillor

Since her election Sue has worked tirelessly to help residents fight for their rights and to build support for progressive pro-people policies. Sue has:

  • Campaigned to save the Ballerrt Mooroop site — a place of Aboriginal significance in Glenroy. She has worked to keep the site in public hands as an Indigenous community hub for cultural exchange between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.
  • Backed the residents in the Save Coburg campaign to stop over-development in Coburg. Sue voted against the Coburg planning amendment from beginning to end. The  amendment allows 10-story buildings throughout the main Coburg shopping centre, will lead  to a “mini-CBD” and removes the right of residents to appeal over heights. While the battle was lost, Sue fought for and won improvements including more community consultation.
  • Played a major role in the campaign to stop the East-West Link. This tunnel would have cost Victorians billions of dollars, without reducing traffic congestion. Sue initiated the grassroots campaign group Moreland Community against the (East West) Tunnel, and organised public meetings. She also called for legal action. This was used by Labor to justify stopping the tunnel.
  • Worked with, Climate Action Moreland and Greens councillors to get Moreland Council to divest from fossil fuels. Other councils are now following Moreland’s lead.
  • Campaigned for relief centres during heat waves. Following the deadly heat waves in early 2014, Sue campaigned for council to provide cool places for vulnerable people.
  • Called for council to adopt an urban forest strategy, increasing tree coverage to cool Moreland’s suburbs.
  • Won council support for affordable housing. The council now plans to establish a land trust for low-cost housing, and opposes government plans to sell or transfer public housing.
  • Won council support for Fawkner Community House’s request for a second site in Major Road. This means expanded programs plus another community hall in Fawkner.
  • Called for a community protest against Moreland Council’s decision to cut its climate budget in 2014. Because of this protest plus emails and phone calls, the council reversed the climate budget cuts.
  • Challenged racism and Islamophobia. Sue has successfully called for Moreland to erect banners declaring ”Moreland says No to Racism” and “Refugees are Welcome”. She got council to fund employment programs for asylum seekers and refugees, and anti-racism bystander training. Sue worked with residents to organise a forum on Islamophobia at Coburg Town Hall.
  • Monthly ward meetings for residents. Sue organises monthly meetings of North-East Ward residents to report back on local council issues and for residents to raise any issues of concern. The meetings alternate between Coburg and Fawkner.

Community need not developer greed

We live in uncertain times. Housing costs are very high and many people cannot find work. Moreland is known as a progressive council but it must do much more to help residents with their concerns.

Developers have too much influence

Many residents feel that developers do not care about their concerns. They think that speculators are driving up house prices. Residents are not getting enough say about changes to their suburbs. Some developments are too large, and have no trees. Some cast a shadow over neighbouring blocks, including people’s solar panels.

Expand public transport

Moreland’s streets are choking with traffic. Residents are worried about lack of parking, speeding cars and big trucks in local streets. We do need more traffic calming.

But the most important solution is expanded public transport. People need a realistic alternative to cars. Parts of Fawkner, Newlands and other areas don’t have enough public transport. Bus services are not adequate.

The Upfield line trains need to be more frequent and the tram services made more frequent — especially in peak hours — to eliminate the current gross overcrowding.

Cyclists and pedestrians need safer paths. The council’s safety audit of the Upfield bike path stopped at Bell St. I have pushed for this to be extended further north.

Supporting residents

Moreland needs more public toilets. I am supporting residents’ campaigning for more public toilets near the Coburg Mall and in the vicinity of the Fawkner Library.

I am supporting Merlynston residents in their battle to save the Merlynston Progress Hall. It was built in 1928 and is currently in a state of disrepair. The hall could be used for playgroups and other community events.

I have ensured that migrant residents get better access to interpreters. This means all migrants can exercise their democratic rights.

Residents want Moreland to lead on climate action. Council’s achievements include gaining carbon neutral status and divesting from fossil fuels. I continue to push for 100% renewable energy. Australia should not use offsets to outsource its emission reduction responsibilities to other countries.

Resident action

Local residents understand best the issues in their area. When councillors or unelected council officers make decisions, they may not fully understand the effect on local residents’ lives.

So it is very important that residents take action and build community campaigns. I have helped many residents with their local community campaigns, often with great success. These include fossil fuel divestment, stopping the East West Link, and saving Moreland’s bluestone lanes.

Sue Bolton: Why I am an activist and a socialist

I am an activist because I have seen over the years that we can’t trust politicians or unelected bureaucrats to make positive changes on our behalf.

We also live in a capitalist world where corporate greed influences decisions behind the scenes and actively blocks social progress.

This is obvious with the lack of serious action to stop climate change or developers squeezing as many units as possible onto blocks all over Melbourne.

The only way of stopping corporate greed controlling the world is for people to build community campaigns, unite our forces and create a powerful movement for fundamental social change.

We need to fight for a society which puts ordinary people’s needs first  — not the greed of the corporate rich. That’s what socialism means to me.