Sydney Alliance assembles for civil society

NSWNA attends Sydney Alliance Assembly and commits to building a stronger society.

Most members join the NSWNA because they want to be part of an organisation that aims to build a better society that supports and protects its members. Many are involved in their local communities, churches and schools and play an active part in building stronger, healthier local communities and services.

The NSWNA has joined Sydney Alliance to support members in their personal life as well as in their endeavours to contribute to better health and aged services for the whole community first in Sydney and then across the State.

NSWNA officials and members joined 200 members from 22 union,church and local community organisations at the inaugural Sydney Alliance Assembly on 2 December. At the Assembly, members came together and affirmed their commitment to a civil society and shared their reasons for being part of this inspiring organisation.

Sydney Alliance draws on extensive overseas experience and evidence that shows how seemingly diverse groups can come together with common interests and achieve change that results in a better society for us all. Similar overseas organisations that are more established, such as Sound Alliance in Seattle and London Citizens, have undertaken successful campaigns for change. For example, London Citizens has been successfully campaigning for affordable housing, a London Living wage and is building CitySafe Neighbourhood groups to tackle local crime.

The goal of Sydney Alliance is to build a society where a culture of leadership and relationships helps regenerate our democracy and effects change, with the increasing strength of our voice holding accountable those in leadership positions in the market and governments.

The first phase of Sydney Alliance is a three-year plan to train people and hold listening campaigns across Sydney, leading to the development of an agenda for the common good in 2011.

In her address to the Assembly, Assistant General Secretary Judith Kiejda told members: ‘The NSWNA was keen to be part of an organisation that promised to give our members a better voice in their communities.

‘My personal experience with the Alliance has been very illuminating.  I never dreamt as a trade union official that I’d ever be sitting in a room with religious and community groups such as the Jewish Board of Deputies and the Arab Council of Australia discussing issues of importance to each of our constituents that were identical.  Everyone wants good health care, everyone wants affordable housing, everyone wants an efficient transport system and when we bring our common interests together in a group that truly represents the community we can achieve amazing outcomes.

‘We saw in the recent Your Rights at Work campaign the power that can be generated when people with like interests come together to make a difference,’ said Judith.