Steve Christou, Councillor and Mayor of Cumberland Council has recently immersed himself in controversy over the decision by the Land and Environment Court to reject an application to build a Mosque in Factory St, Granville.
He has created a backlash on social media where he is seen to gloat over the decision by the Land & Environment that rejected an appeal against the Councils decision to not approve the application for the Mosque and calls it a victory.
The Mayor, Steve Christou was right to support the overwhelming majority of residents living in the streets close to the proposed mosque in opposing the development. The Battler has a core principle that the residents should be able to decide what gets built in our streets and surrounding area, we call this real local democracy.
The reality was a large number of residents in surrounding streets from diverse ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds opposed the application to build the Mosque because of traffic, parking and noise issues. The same residents also opposed an extension to a Korean Catholic Church a few years earlier in Factory St for the same reasons.
The issue about Steve Christou being a fit person to hold the Mayor’s job is more to do with his lack of sensitivity and his record of making inappropriate comments on social media. Not a good look when the Mayor of a Council with a substantial Muslim population and time and again Christou uses social media to air a variety of questionable views on Muslims. The ABS statistics for Granville Ward show that 24.7% of residents nominated Islam as their religion, of course not all Muslims think the same but its certainly not smart to insult them on social media. He’s reproduced the standard bigotry of Mark Latham, One Nations Upper House MHR. Christou is fond and appears to use of all people Donald Trump as his mentor and seems to have the same Laiss’ez faire attitude towards COVID 19. In a recent video posted on Twitter he makes derogatory comments about Muslim volunteers in a canteen at sporting event in Bankstown not serving Egg and Bacon rolls to spectators. As is often the case with bigots they get it all wrong, there was no deliberate intent by the volunteers to not serve bacon and egg rolls but one of the volunteers who normally serves the bacon didn’t make it to the event. We wouldn’t expect a devout Jew to serve bacon, so why would we have that expectation of a Muslim? And if Christou was genuinely concerned he could have easily volunteered to take the other persons place in the canteen.
So there we have it, not one out of place comment about the Land & Environment Court decision but a continuous trail of bigotry and division coming from a person who holds a leading position in the Community. We think it say’s a lot about Mayor Christou, if you are polite you might describe his behavior as incredulous. We tend to agree with those in the Community who call it “Stupid”.
So what is Mayor Christou’s background? In 2017 Steve Christou was elected as a Labor Councillor for Granville Ward of Cumberland Council. In September 2020 he put himself forward as a candidate for the Mayor’s job but none of his Labor colleagues thought he was worth supporting. Christou got upset about this and joined Our Local Community as part of a deal with the Liberals to then support him for Mayor. Interesting, all three Our Local Community Councillors are Ex – Labor and Ex – Liberal and if you think there differences are on principles you would be wrong. All three jumped ship because they couldn’t realise their personal ambitions in the major parties of Labor and Liberal. Their party colleagues didn’t think they were worth supporting. In fact Mayor Christou before becoming a Councillor worked in Laurie Ferguson’s electoral office.
Since coming to the office of Mayor, Steve Christou has opened an electoral style office with ratepayers money on Merrylands Road coincidentally right opposite the State Members Electoral Office. Steve Christou is also using a full page in Friday’s Telegraph Newspaper to promote himself every week, not cheap and again at the ratepayers expense and all of this at a time when Cumberland Council has spiraled into debt mainly due to Amalgamation. Council Staff tell us that the Mayor has hijacked Councils Media Team for his own personal use and this comes at a time when residents in Regents Park and South Granville Wards have had Council services reduced and will be expected to pay an increase of $400 per year over five years on our rates. On top of this Mayor Christou’s alliance Liberals and Our Local Community Councillors voted in December to sell off Council’s Child Care Centres and Seniors Units, another blow to low income earners in our Community. Do you think there was any discussion at Council to curb the Mayor’s extravagant expenditure? You would be correct if you guessed No.
You probably wont be surprised to learn that the Mayor is also a hypocrite while he rails against the building of the mosque in Factory St, Granville he and his alliance have been more than happy to support dramatic increases in the heights of buildings in our Lidcombe and Auburn Town centres and this comes after horror findings of shonky apartment blocks in Auburn. In his own Ward of Granville he hesitated about voting down a Development Proposal in Manchester Road Auburn that would open a bridge through to Seventh Ave Granville and flood local residential streets with thousands of cars daily. It was only after he was outed by the Battler that he decided to vote against the proposal. Yes, Steve Christou has had his token campaign against a proposed development on the corner of the Great Western Highway and Woodville Road but more important watch how two of his Pro Development Alliance Councillors Ned Attie and Eddie Sarkis vote on the Greater Sydney Planning Panel. We think that Liberal Councillor Tom Zreika, a former President of the Lebanese Muslim Association would be feeling very uncomfortable with the Mayor’s litany of anti Muslim comments. Its worth pointing out that Tom Zreika’s vote helps to keep Steve Christou in the Mayor’s job and we would encourage concerned residents to contact Tom and make their views understood.
The Battler doesn’t oppose the Mayor Steve Christou because he supported local residents in campaigning against the Mosque, we say Councillor Steve Christou is not fit for the job of Mayor he encourages bigotry and division in our community and does nothing to preserve secularism. Islamophobia and Prejudice have no place in our Council area and we need a community leader who brings residents together on those issues that can unite us.