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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 18 March 2017
2 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 18 MARCH 2017 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Paddington to be sold Greek Orthodox Community of NSW votes 55 per cent ‘yes’ The members of the Greek Orthodox Community of NSW were called last Sunday to decide if the Community's building in Paddington was to be sold. This building is regarded as the biggest asset of the GOC of NSW and this wasn't the first time an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) has been called to pose the same question. Back in 2013, the state GOC had voiced an outstanding "No" to the sale of its "large and historic" building in the central Sydney suburb. The atmosphere was very tense and boisterous as there were quite a few members disputing the proposal yet, with a majority of 55 per cent, the ballot closed in favour of the sale as revenues from refurbishment, restoration, and further utilisation of the building were not covering its expenses. The organisation's president Mr Harry Danalis said that the board "has to respect the outcome of the motion and the wishes of the membership". "The board can now look to the future with trust and optimism". "Our first goal now is to allocate the money from the sale towards a new facility or facilities to house and help realise the members' dreams, starting with a community old people’s home," he added. The committee concluded in its report that the Greek Orthodox Community of NSW is to receive $23 million by the end of November. The buyer has already transferred a deposit of $1,150,000 for the over 2,000 square metre Sydney landmark. Voices from the opposition allege that the building's worth is estimated closer to $40 - 50 million and not the $23 million accepted, while several members have complained about the property not going to auction. According to the board, the real estate agents had evaluated the building's worth to a maximum of $18 million and the $23 million was the highest and only legitimate offer from a trustworthy third party, made during the time the building was on sale. The EGM was attended by 418 members. The vote was by ballot, 377 members voted in support of the motion for the sale of the building, while two invalid votes were found. Close to 40 more members left the room before the voting began. South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis depart the energy plan conference in Adelaide. PHOTO: AAP /DAVID MARIUZ Saving Statemanship When States pave the way forward, forcing the Federal government to follow NIKOS FOTAKIS NEOS KOSMOS Published since 1957 Published by Ethnic Publications Pty Ltd (ABN: 13005 255 087) of 169 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn, Victoria 3122. Printed by ACM Printing, 126 Fairbank Road, Clayton South 3168. No. 5860 Contacts Reception Phone: (03) 9482 4433 Fax: (03) 9482 2962 Email: email@example.com Advertising Phone: (03) 9482 4433 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.neoskosmos.com letters Email: email@example.com NEOS KOSMOS - English Publisher: Editor-in-chief: Editorial director: Journalists: Address: Level 1, 169 Burwood Road, Hawthorn, Victoria 3122 Subscriptions Phone: (03) 9482 4433 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: (03) 9482 2962 Letters should not be more than 200 words and they must indicate your full name, address and a day time telephone number for verification. By submitting your letter to us for publication you agree that we may edit the letter for legal, space or other reasons and may, after the publication in the paper, republish it on the internet or in other media. Christopher Gogos Sotiris Hatzimanolis Nelly Skoufatoglou Anastasia Tsirtsakis, Nikos Fotakis Contributors: Dean Kalimniou, Theodora Maios, Jim Claven, Leonidas Petrakis, Lisa Radinovsky, George Stogiannou, Zoe George Proofreader: Allyson Griffith Graphic design: Peter Kelidis Mail: PO Box 6068 Hawthorn West, Victoria 3122 At this moment in time, all eyes in the political scene are turning to Tom Koutsantonis. The man of the hour has just undertaken a huge task, in his combined duties as Treasurer and Energy Minister of South Australia: to implement a $550 million energy plan that includes the construction of a battery storage and gas-fired power plant. It is a groundbreaking, ambitious plan, announced by the South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill, which aims not only to cover the energy needs of the state, but also to offer a solution to the energy conundrum Australia is in at the moment. Promising a daring leap forward and embracing renewable energy (if only for part of the plan), South Australia is set to create hundreds of jobs and attract new investment. Tom Koutsantonis may have insisted it was a "happy coincidence", but the announcement did come only days after Tesla's Elon Musk, the billionaire co-founder of the electric car company Tesla who is revered as a god in the world of business and innovation, promised on Twitter that his company could deliver 100-300MWh of battery storage to meet South Australia's energy needs within 100 days of a contract being signed. Timing is essential in these matters and timing has found the Federal Government lagging behind, tangled up in indecision and its commitment to pursuing the interests of the dinosaur-era-relics exploiters, i.e. the fossil fuel energy industry. Exposed for its lack of vision and indecisiveness to tackle energy issues, the Turnbull government was forced to jump up and announce another ambitious plan; the $2 billion expansion of the Snowy Hydro scheme that could add up to 50 per cent to its capacity. The new investment is aimed to add 2,000 MW to the hydro scheme's 4,100 MW capacity, enough to power 500,000 homes. The project will include new tunnels and energy turbines to pump water uphill during off-peak times so it can generate electricity by flowing downhill when demand is high. The Government was further ambushed on Thursday, when Energy Minister Josh Fydenberg had to endure the premier's public shaming of him, when he said that "it is a little galling to be standing here next to a man who has been standing up with his prime minister bagging SA at every step of the way over the last six months to be standing here on this occasion, him suggesting that we want to work together". It was the moment of revenge by a politician known for his toughness, who this week showed Canberra what leadership looks like. He is not alone in this. Daniel Andrews has often showed this kind of leadership, swiftly moving to fill up the policy void left by the federal government. Only a week prior to the SA energy announcement, the Parliament of Victoria passed legislation permanently banning all onshore unconventional gas exploration and development, including hydraulic fracturing ('fracking') and coal seam gas. In an era when the quest for 'clean' energy becomes a pressing need, such policies show the way, offering a most welcome relief to farming communities and all those concerned about the destructive impact of fracking in the environment. It is not the only incident when the Premier of Victoria showed willingness to act decisively, show forward-thinking and embrace innovation. The state's plan to legalise medicinal cannabis is set to attract significant investment, create employment opportunities and make Victoria a leader in the respective research. When the government was trying to come up with a plan to deal with the referendum on marriage equality, the Parliament of Victoria was passing legislation, allowing for same-sex couples to adopt children. When the Federal Government gutted the Safe Schools anti-bullying program, the Andrews government embraced and continued to apply it in schools, teaching acceptance and inclusiveness. It promises to do the same with Sunday penalty rates, coming to the side of retail and hospitality employees (which form a large part of the population of a state with an economy largely reliant on hospitality). And on top of that, it introduced an ambitious plan to respond to the housing affordability crisis that plagues the nation. All strong, assertive motions to implement policy that works for the benefit of the broader community, creating employment opportunities, strengthening the social fabric, looking to the future. Sure, the Andrews’ Government plan to abolish stamp duty will not bring down housing prices. And the Weatherill Government’s energy policy is not that 'green', as it still relies on gas. Politics, after all, include a large deal of compromise; but what we have recently seen in these states - as well as in Western Australia's change of guard, with Mark McGowan getting strong support to implement an ambitious public transport policy - is that, in these times of change, what we need the most is decisive leadership and statemanship. Canberra should be taking notes.
11 March 2017
25 March 2017