Socialist councillor: ‘If you don’t fight, you never win’

Moreland socialist councillor Sue Bolton has worked hard to save public land along Merri Creek and Moonee Ponds Creek from being sold off to developers.

“The open space along our creeks isn’t any old open space. It is important for maintaining the veins of Melbourne, and also as a place of natural bushland in our bustling city,” Bolton told Green Left.

forcing an about-turn on council in 2014 when residents discovered that the budget for climate action had been cut by $100,000, threatening the council’s solar energy projects.

A hastily-organised public meeting called with community groups Climate Action Moreland, Sustainable Fawkner, the Socialist Alliance and the Moreland Greens led to council unanimously returning to the original draft council budget for that year. Even opponents changed their minds.

Bolton concluded then, and she maintains the same today, that “protests do work”. “The other councillors, including the Greens, would not have voted to reinstate the carbon management projects if not for the protest, the emails and phone calls.”

Last year, when Public Transport Victoria (PTV) decided to build a substation just 20 centimetres from a family’s bedrooms, Bolton was the first councillor to respond to residents’ concerns.

Initially, council had dismissed them and it wasn’t until Bolton sought independent advice and starting moving motions that the PTV paused the project and agreed to shift the substation.

“I am a single voice on council, sometimes failing to get a seconder for my motions. But I can help make change by supporting communities prepared to mobilise to gain something important. On that basis, I can say I’ve been able to be on the winning side of many struggles.”

[Get in touch if you would like a Sue Bolton Moreland Team yard sign or you can help out in another way.]

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