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Artarmon's MPs hit ground running

Artarmon's two state MPs, Gladys Berejiklian for Willoughby and Anthony Roberts for Lane Cove, have hit the ground running after the change of NSW government on March 26. Both are in lead positions having been picked for the Liberal state cabinet, bringing a welcome prospect of more attention to local issues.

Frontbencher Berejiklian has been put in charge of one of the cabinet's toughest portfolios and the task of delivering on the key issue of fixing Sydney's transport - while Roberts has been given Fair Trading.

Berejiklian is acutely aware of the local issues. Asked if she'll have time to handle them in addition to her daunting task as NSW Transport Minister, she told the Gazette: "It's not a question of time, I love it, I live with people in Artarmon and Willoughby and I love being there for them."

That includes dealing with the issue of overcrowding at Artarmon Public School and other schools in the Willoughby electorate (Gazette, February). "This is a big issue in all of Willoughby. I have met with the Department (of Education and Training) and asked them to get ready to meet the demand for education facilities in the area," she said. "Artarmon has changed - it's now a much younger area which brings a bigger demand ... and we are getting the process started."

Berejiklian is also on top of local planning issues: "I already talked to Brad Hazzard (NSW Planning Minister) when we first got notice of (the Channel 9 site redevelopment [Gazette, February]) and we're opposed to the scale of it."

Development applications on the Part 3A list would all go back to the local councils, except for those which are already being processed "so long as we're not backdating any decisions".

Artarmon residents will be able to ask for more details about the Channel 9 site at the Artarmon Progress Association's public information meeting on May 26, when Willoughby City Council general manager Nick Tobin will conduct a Q&A session.

Residents' rights: Roberts told the Gazette: "As in the past, I will continue to fight for the rights of the residents ... The new cabinet is in place and working to deliver the commitments made during the election. As soon as ministers were sworn in, they started working." The new government would ensure it made NSW number one again.

Among the items on Roberts' priority list is a smartphone app similar to one created by Victoria's Consumer Affairs, which lets shoppers check their rights while in-store. Roberts wants a NSW version that also enables users to report scams. "I want to utilise consumers to catch the grubs and villains," he said. He further plans to make more effective use of his fair trading team. "I've come into a department that has, to a large extent, been neglected," he said. Consumer organisation Choice is the first organisation he will be meeting with.

"My colleagues and I are determined and working hard to give the families of NSW a reason to be proud and to restore confidence in our great state," Roberts said.

Exclusive, by Eva Wiland, Artarmon Gazette editor

Courtesy of Gazette May 2011
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Gladys Berejiklian
Berejiklian ... on top of local issues


Anthony Roberts
Roberts ... fighting for residents' rights





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