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Sydney Alliance have a Win!

SA logoBuilding an agenda for the common good“A personal relationship with Jesus always must be transformed into action, service and love for others” (Pope Benedict XVI). Sydney Alliance is a citizen’s coalition whose purpose is to act for the common good to achieve social change. It currently has more than 30 diverse member organisations, among them religious organisations of various faiths. Sydney Alliance builds grassroots power that respects the contribution and dignity of all people. The Catholic Diocese of Broken Bay is a member of Sydney Alliance and provides financial support to individuals and local communities within the diocese who wish to undertake the leadership training days provided by Sydney Alliance. For more information, visit www.sydneyalliance.org.au or contact Jennifer Skelly Diocese of Broken Bay Project’s Officer: Social Justice Ph. 9847 0488; Mob. 0419 160055 Jennifer.skelly@dbb.org.au from Amanda Tattersall; Coalition Director, Sydney AllianceGreat news! On Monday at 1.30pm the Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian announced that the Government would build a lift at Arncliffe station! We have won our first issue from the city-wide election agenda that we launched on 26 March 2014 at Sydney Town Hall. Eighteen months of hard work by the Sutherland-St George District building local relationships and organising the diverse community groups finally paid off for the residents of Arncliffe. Why is this important? Do you remember the story that Azra Ahmed from the Pakistani Australian Women’s Association told at the Granville assembly in November last year: I’ve been working with the Inner South West Community Development Organisation for some years now to get a lift at Arncliffe train station. In 2005 I developed an Auto-Immune illness and needed to have chemotherapy. Due to the side effects of the chemotherapy, I found myself unable to climb the stairs at Arncliffe train station and lost my independence. My husband and son had to take time off work to drive me to medical appointments and when they couldn’t do this, they dropped me off at Wolli Creek station which has lift access. I was fortunate my illness went into remission and I was able to be mobile again but this experience of my family having to take time off work to get me to my medical appointments and the inconvenience of being driven to another train station with lift access opened my eyes. I realised that my neighbours and people in my community who were elderly, wheelchair bound, had a pram or otherwise less mobile; were unable to use Arncliffe station. I was determined to change that and worked with other community leaders to campaign for better accessibility at Arncliffe and at other stations. With less than two hours notice Sydney Alliance had twelve locals from our partner organisations ready to greet Minister Berejiklian and local MP John Flowers. We told these MPs our stories and witnessed the announcement that we had worked so hard to put on the political agenda. This is a fantastic win but we have more work to do. 56 stations on the Sydney Trains network are not wheelchair accessible and there is no schedule or certainty around when this will be delivered. Access shouldn’t depend on the whim of the government in power. Stories and relationships that built power for the common good delivered the win at Arncliffe. You can be part of this. By doing something as simple as inviting your friends over for dinner and sharing your transport stories we can spark conversations and move people to action. For more information about how to host your own “Table Talk” contact Samara at sbarchet@sydneyalliance.org.au.


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