Tag Archives

Koalas locked-in so developers can roam  

By MERRILL WITT The year-long Upper House Inquiry into Koala populations and habitat in NSW released a report in July that contained an alarming revelation. Predictions that the Koala is on track to become functionally extinct in NSW by 2050 are, in fact, far too optimistic because “the scale of loss as a result of […]

Why a Basic Income Guarantee makes economic sense 

Opinion by MERRILL WITT In a March research note to clients Macquarie Bank posed the following question: ‘Will COVID-19 redefine societies and economic models and inflict a prolonged and massive damage; or will it simply nudge us towards different policies (e.g. basic income guarantees & MMT) but still leave the essence of our societies intact, […]

Why local news matters

By MERRILL WITT In the last week of June, Australians received more grim news about the future of news coverage in Australia. The managing director of the ABC, David Anderson, announced cutbacks to news divisions and job losses in response to a cut in federal funding for the public broadcaster. Seventy jobs in news and […]

Brakes taken off NSW development approvals

Opinion by MERRILL WITT A great leap forward? If you know a little about the history of China, you may have been bemused to read that Tom Forrest, the new CEO of Urban Taskforce, described the recently announced planning system reforms as "a great leap forward for jobs, housing supply and the NSW economy." As […]

Local council elections postponed

By MERRILL WITT If you’re thinking the coronavirus pandemic has thrown our liberal democratic order into disarray, you’re not wrong! On Weds 25 March the Minister for Local Government, Shellley Hancock, announced that the Sept 2020 local government elections will be “postponed to address the risks posed by the COVID-19 virus.” In all likelihood, they […]

Could the coronavirus pandemic save the koalas?

By MERRILL WITT On Mon 19 March, the Total Environment Centre’s Urban Sustainability Campaigner, Saul Deane, told ABC radio Breakfast hosts Wendy Harmer and Robbie Buck that the growing southwestern Sydney koala population is at risk of being wiped out. Vast swathes of rural land from Campbelltown to Wilton are being rezoned for up to […]

The political endorsement of extinction

Opinion by MERRILL WITT Prime Minister Scott Morrison maintained a business-as-usual approach in response to last September's School Strike 4 Climate rallies. Despite the protests attracting record-breaking crowds across the nation, Morrison complained that the student strikers were responsible for creating "needless anxiety" in children. Needless anxiety is certainly not how you would describe the […]

Can local character be saved?

Opinion by MERRILL WITT Earlier this year two strange bedfellows, Tony Recsei of Save our Suburbs and Chris Johnson, the former CEO of the developer lobby group Urban Taskforce, joined together to co-write an op-ed in the Sydney Morning Herald that was critical of the NSW Government’s push for more medium-density housing in Sydney’s suburbs. […]

Is it too late to save koalas?

BY MERRILL WITT Current predictions for the future of wild koalas in NSW are very grim, according to testimony given by scientific and environmental experts at last Friday's Upper House inquiry into “Koala populations and habitat in NSW.” Sydney University’s Associate Professor of Life and Environmental Sciences Mathew Crowther, whose research focus is the Liverpool […]

Double Bay at crossroads

By MERRILL WITT The best areas of Sydney typically mix old with new and often demonstrate an intelligent repurposing of redundant buildings or tired precincts in ways that enliven and engage while still respecting heritage. Sadly, more often than not, the preferred option is to tear down and replace. As a recent editorial in the […]