Councillor for the City of Canterbury, NSW
Linda became the first Greens councillor on Canterbury Council in October 2008. She is the Chair of the Environment and Sustainability Committee (which she established), the GreenWay, the Disability Committee, and the Floodplains Management Committee.
She is also on the Arts, Multicultural, Traffic, Southern Sydney Region of Councils (SSROC), Aquatic and Interfaith Committees, and on the Aboriginal Advisory Group.
Linda Eisler has a Bachelor of Arts, Diploma of Education and a Postgraduate Diploma in Environmental Sustainability. Before entering teaching she worked in Women’s Refuges in Sydney and Darwin. During her teaching career she also worked as a NSW Teachers’ Federation Relief Organiser in the research and welfare areas.
As A Councillor
Linda has found being a local government councillor is a very rewarding role. On a local level she has been able to help residents who are lonely, or unable to speak English, to gain access to information and support for theirhealth and social service needs.
Getting answers to their questions empowers residents, even when the answers are ones they don’t like. Being someone who listens and advocates is what is important in the local councillor’s role. Residents feel confident that democracy and transparency is happening.
Taking the needs of residents and then translating them into council policy is exciting. For example through her work with local hoarding issues, Linda had the Southern Sydney Region of Councils (SSROC) develop a policy on hoarding that looks not just at the problem of hoarding but also the issues that lie behind it, the reasons that a resident becomes a hoarder. Canterbury Council then took the issue to the Local Government Annual Conference.
One of Linda’s first motions was to see a grant for Community Gardens which lead to the development of Lakemba’s Jubilee Gardens. She was not satisfied with that and sat on the committee to help design it. She wanted to see two garden beds for the disabled, rules that included that you had to be within walking distance of the garden, and the ability of it being open to others by it being a place for education on subjects like composting.
With other Greens she saw SSROC fund a project on Renewable Energy with UTS. She was very hands-on, going to all the meetings with UTS, residents and Council Staff. This project has long-term significance for renewables within the area.
Canterbury is a very large council with 140 000 residents coming from many different countries. The community has many vulnerable groups and is not a wealthy community for the most part. Linda has enjoyed being a part of it attending many of their celebrations, even occasionally helping organise them. She has spoken on women’s issues on behalf of council. Linda also initiated the Interfaith Working group in the hope of helping to develop social cohesion through understanding and friendship between the different religious communities.
Linda is also active in the business communities being on two Chamber of Commerce committees helping to improving services and infrastructure. She is also an active member of the local environmental groups.
She believes it is important to hear the local community groups, and to promote and advocate their ideas. She also believes it is important to educate them on Green philosophy.
Linda has the respect of the community she works with, no matter what side of politics they come from, and she believes it is not only because she works hard for her community, but also because her political philosophy is the Greens’ philosophy. The Greens put the good of the whole community first.