By Julie Owens

04 May 2021

One of the best parts of my job is seeing the fantastic work that people are doing to make out community stronger, and to make Parramatta a better place to live.

Save Willow Grove

I’m sure most of you are aware of the long running fight to Save Willow Grove.

The NSW Government plans to demolish the 1880s Italianate villa, the only one of its kind in Parramatta, to make way for the new Powerhouse Museum.

The grassroots campaign to save this valuable heritage site and build a world class museum elsewhere in Parramatta has won overwhelming community support, with more than 1,200 people and organisations making submissions objecting to the Government’s plan to demolish the building.

It’s also won support from the CFMEU, which has placed a Green Ban on Willow Grove and moved its annual May Day march to Parramatta this year. Past Green Bans saved The Rocks, Centennial Park and a local bushland site which is now the Central Gardens Nature Reserve Merrylands.

In response, the NSW Government has agreed to ‘move’ Willow Grove to an unspecified site. The reality is that heritage buildings like Willow Grove can’t be moved, and the fight to save it continues. You can find out more about how you can support the campaign on their Facebook page.

Westmead Push for Palliative Care

Another campaign you may have read about in the pages of the Parra News is the Westmead Push for Palliative Care.

Palliative care aims to give people with an advanced disease and little or no prospect of survival quality of life at the end of their lives. It’s provided by specialists who are experts in pain management and compassionate and spiritual support.

Despite being one of the biggest hospital precincts in Australia, Westmead Hospital has not had a dedicated palliative care ward for many years.

This means that locals are not receiving specialised care at the end of their lives, and are forced to choose between palliative care at home, which is not an option for people with complex medical conditions; in a ward that is focused on providing care to recovering patients; or in a different hospital with doctors unfamiliar with their medical history.

I think our community deserves much better. If you agree, search ‘Westmead Push for Palliative Care’ on Facebook to find out how you can help.

Save our Local Buses

The NSW Government recently scrapped a range of local bus services without consulting the community, including the M52 express service to the City. Other local services including the 525 to Strathfield have been cut in half.

On top of this, the NSW Government is pushing ahead with plans to privatise all of Sydney’s remaining public bus services – despite reports from the NSW Auditor General and Transport NSW showing that privatisation of bus services in Sydney’s inner west and Newcastle has led to slower, less reliable services and fewer bus stops.

Local activists have started a petition to Save our Public Buses and they need more signatures to trigger a debate about these changes in the NSW Parliament. If you’re concerned about how these changes will affect you and your family, you can add your name to the petition here.