Professor Jane Marceau was awarded a Glebe Society Commendation at the 2013 annual general meeting. Her citation appears below.
Professor Jane Marceau is a respected academic specialising in innovation. Over her long career she has held senior posts at the Universities of Western Sydney and New South Wales and in addition to her research and administration she has been an adviser to government and business. Fortunately for Glebe Jane, a resident of Balmain but no stranger to Glebe, has a track record of community activism and a strong interest in cities and good urban planning.
Jane’s recent association with the Glebe Society began when she was appointed by the NSW Labor Government in June 2009 to the Bays Precinct Community Reference Group (CRG) – a long awaited process by which the community was to be given a voice in the planning for the future of the large area of mainly government-owned waterfront land west of the Harbour Bridge known as the Bays Precinct. The Glebe Society was represented on the CRG by its then President Lesley Lynch.
This was the beginning of a grand coalition to try to make a very flawed consultative planning process work. Jane and Lesley’s time on the CRG was marked by numerous feisty arguments with the chair and public officials from government agencies such as Ports, Maritime, the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority and the Department of Planning. They fought to transform a dodgy and cynical consultation and advisory process into something that could give strong and clear articulation to community views and lead to imaginative perspectives on the potential uses for the Bays Precinct. In particular Jane worked with three other CRG members to produce an innovative plan, based on planning principles endorsed by the CRG, which demonstrated what the Bays Precinct could become.
Despite the quality of advice provided to government by the community representatives, the Labor government failed to act on the CRG’s recommendations.
In May 2011 the alliance of community groups from around the bays was reactivated with Jane’s appointment as community representative on the Bays Precinct Task Force (BPTF) established by the new coalition Government. This was a breakthrough as previously the BPTF had only public officials as members. Jane sought assistance for this huge task and Lesley Lynch was appointed as the alternative community delegate. Jane worked tirelessly to develop links with, and facilitate input from, the communities surrounding the bays. The final report reflected much of the community perspective but unfortunately it contains no unambiguous recommendations.
Given the current State Government’s planned changes to the NSW planning regime, continued collaboration with community activists beyond our own immediate locality is imperative. Hopefully Professor Marceau will be able to find the time and energy to continue to work closely with the Glebe Society in future struggles.