#SeriouslySocial The Podcast
with Simone Douglas and special guest Julian Carbone
Today’s guest is Julian Carbone, local councillor in the Burnside City Council.
He and Simone talk local politics, social media, and how the increasing cost of living space impacts demographics.
Special guest: Julian Carbone
Check out our page for updates and teasers about upcoming episodes, www.socialmediaaok.com.au/podcast
Hosted by Simone Douglas
Videography by Marie Carbone
Audio by Chris Irving
Music used in this episode is “Alte Herren” by KieLoKaz, used with permission under a Creative Commons Licence
This production is protected by a creative commons CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 licence.
Chris Irving 0:00
Welcome to the #SeriouslySocial Podcast with your host Simone Douglas. Today’s guest is Julian Carbone local Councillor in the Burnside City Council. He and Simone talk local politics, social media, and how the increasing cost of living space impacts demographics.
Simone Douglas 0:19
Okay, so I’m joined today on this seriously social podcast by Julian Carbone, who is a counsellor at Burnside City Council. Julian, thanks for joining me today,
Julian Carbone 0:29
Simone thanks for having me.
Simone Douglas 0:30
It’s my absolute pleasure. So perhaps you could give us the cliff notes version as to how you ended up in counsel in here today.
Julian Carbone 0:38
Yeah, it’s a it’s a long story, but I’ll give you the the short version, of course, because today we’re, we’re limited for time. It all, it all started with a school report back in 1999. Okay. So long time ago, and our teacher asked us to do a report on a political issue. Any political issue you like, local, state, federal, go for it. And I remember all my fellow students going for the big federal issues, you know, mabo, and immigration and all those things. And that the time in the local paper, you know, in the messenger, of course, there was a big controversy over the new Burnside library redevelopment, it was going to cost about $15 million, and it became very political because of course, there was two parties that were, that were have had views on the on the library. So I figured, well, why go federal why go state, I’ll go for something right in my own backyard. So I went along to council meetings, I spoke to the Mayor spoke to all the Counsellors. I then did my own market research, so I was going around and door knocking people’s homes and doing surveys, you know, in Burnside Village and so forth to get a bit of a feel for what people wanted, and so forth. And I suppose I was, I was hooked from that point on, and I remember, I remember the exact moment I was having coffee with a with another Counsellor who sadly has actually since passed away, but we’re having coffee in her home talking about the library, and, and she actually asked me, you know, would you consider running for council? And I remember at that moment, because I would have been 17, and I thought, Oh, you know, I, I never would have thought of it. And, and suddenly until someone actually asks you, would you be interested in doing something like this? That’s, that’s where it all started. So that was 1999. I ran in 2003. That was the next election that I was really for. Didn’t quite get on. I just missed out, but then the next lecture was 2006. And I got on.
Simone Douglas 2:50
Fantastic. So you’ve been on Council for quite some time, then?
Julian Carbone 2:53
No, not quite.
Simone Douglas 2:54
Not quite had a little break in the middle.
Julian Carbone 2:55
No, yes. Yeah we’ll call it a break. We’ll call it a break. But no of course, elections. Democracy. So I’ve won elections. I’ve lost elections. So yes, there has been a couple of breaks in between.
Simone Douglas 3:09
How have you seen the political landscape during an election change with the advent you know, of digital media and social media? Like what’s been the impact when you’re running a campaign?
Unknown Speaker 3:21
Or tell you what. It’s it actually, that’s a great question. Because I do often compare, say, the 2016 election to say the last election, which was 2018, and how different it was and how my campaigning changed, and so forth. And digital media, yes, social media was was was front and centre of my campaign in 2018. In fact, my my campaign t shirts and caps and so forth. My, my sort of name and council was a little bit secondary, it was actually my Facebook handle that prominent, prominent feature, because I wanted people to remember that rather than almost my surname, or you know, which counsel I was, and so forth. Just remember the handle, and everything else will make sense after that. So that was a big thing. But generally speaking, I would say the workload has also increased over that time. People, you know, they’re paying a lot of money and rates, especially now we’ve got to be conscious of money being spent and so forth. So people demand value. And I’m getting a lot more phone calls from residents. A lot more a lot more demands, put on myself, then say back in 2006, when people you know, they might phone you from time to time if there was an issue, but now the workload has has probably doubled. In that time.
Simone Douglas 4:45
Do you find that the boundaries have blurred to a certain degree between, you know, personal and professional in terms of that expectation of almost 24/7 access?
Julian Carbone 4:57
Well, yes, yes, definitely. With social media, I mean, people aren’t going to call you, you know, in the middle of the night. But they are going to tag you in a post, and they are going to write to you and so forth for the direct message and so forth. So, yes, yes, definitely. And also probably with the just with text messages and so forth people tend to send those at all hours so.
Simone Douglas 5:18
They tend to be happy to text you at three o’clock in the morning.
Julian Carbone 5:21
Yes, yes. They think I won’t disturb you I will just text you, but but the phone’s right there, so it does wake you up.
Simone Douglas 5:27
Well, and I think it’s that thing, too. Like, we tend to use our mobile phones as alarm clocks, so I was reading an article somewhere the other day that people generally will have reached for their smartphone within 15 minutes of waking, if you made within point two seconds, because you want to see what you’ve missed out on the night for what has happened or changed. But I guess one of the other things that I’m curious about is obviously, you know, Burnside is a very well established council, well known council probably in Adelaide. What do you think of the challenges within that council area for businesses and business owners right now?
Julian Carbone 6:05
Yeah, well, to be honest, most of my concerns come from from residents, not not businesses as such. And I say the the, we have a lot of issues. We have a lot of issues, but fundamentally, we are in in a in a suburb council. Okay, so we’re obviously on the other side of Victoria Park. So we’re very close to the city. The cost of land is is huge. I think it range is around 1200 dollars a square metre, so just for land, we’re talking big dollars. So we are you know, there is a there’s this constant shift. People, you know, like, often it’s, you know, your grandparents, you know, grandma, grandpa, they’ve got a small three bedroom home on 1000 square metre block of land. Okay. That generation, you know, a diying, and so people are buying up these big blocks of land and putting two or three homes on them. So we are we are noticing a big increase in our in our population, and a big reduction in the amount of open space.
Simone Douglas 7:10
Yeah, and I guess that’s one of the challenges, because, you know, Burnside has some lovely open space areas like Burnside swimming pool in the parklands all around there. And do you think that over time, there’s going to be increasing pressure on the planning departments and councils to kind of review and re frame some of the planning approvals and guidelines,
Julian Carbone 7:32
They are constantly reviewing the planning guidelines, but at the end of the day, we are very close to the city, and the cost of land is very, very high so people tend to not put a value on their backyard, as they used to once upon a time they’d rather a court courtyard home for a million dollars compared to, you know, maybe a large block of land, same sized house for 1.5.
Simone Douglas 7:58
Yeah, no that makes sense. So I think, you know, it’s always interesting to have conversations with people about what they’ve seen as the impact of COVID-19 and the restrictions. You know, obviously, we’re very lucky in South Australia, we touch wood come through reasonably unscathed compared to perhaps Victoria or, you know, some of the other eastern states in particular. But, you know, what are some of the concerns that residents and people have come to you with that when we were dealing with shutdown and things like that?
Julian Carbone 8:31
I probably probably the biggest concern we had, which seems a little a little trivial, given what’s going on around the world with, you know, a lot of high death rates and so forth. But as a council, I suppose, speaking personally, the the biggest the biggest change we saw, and the one that caused the most phone calls to myself and so forth, was the fact that we to shut down our public spaces. So the pool, the library, playgrounds, all those sorts of things. When things were really bad, we had to shut them down, so people were even more isolated. They couldn’t go to work, they had to stay at home, and, and they might have, you know, gone to, you know, the library to hire a book or a DVD or something or, you know, taking their children to a playground. Because what else can you do when you’re stuck at home? And so that, that was something that caused caused quite a bit of concern. That’s now changed, of course, and things are improving, but yeah.
Simone Douglas 9:35
I think, though, that speaks back to that challenge. You were saying about people not placing value on their backyards anymore, in terms of we have those smaller, more dense housing, you know, things happening. And then you have something like this happen where you can’t access those public spaces, or likewise couldn’t access the gym. So one of my friends owns like a gym, and, you know, she was saying that fitness equipment just flew off the shelves, and sold out you couldn’t get hold of a kettlebell to save yourself. And I got really lucky in that I just purchased a whole heap of gym equipment, I think three weeks before this all went pear shaped. But do you think that we’re all forever going to be stuck with weighing up the cost of land per square metre, and usable space and quality of life? Like are we going to end up being, you know, the likes of New York for argument’s sake, where kids never stepped foot on grass? And you know, don’t actually have a concept of climbing a tree?
Julian Carbone 10:38
Yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s something we deal with every day. It’s complicated. I mean, as long as. It’s supply and demand, as long as the population ccontinues, it continues to rise because Adelaide keeps growing and growing and growing, so you got people, you know, living out at Two Wells now, and that’s considered, you know, almost Metropolitan Adelaide. So right now. That’s right. That’s right. So that’s, that’s what we’re looking at as far as Adelaide so and of course Burnside is, you know, a kilometre out of the city, so you know, are we going to become a New York and all apartment buildings one day? Just, you know, one k out of the city? Well, I suppose probably, eventually. All you’ve got to do is look at Sydney and Melbourne and look at the inner inner suburb councils there, and what they look like and what they feel like. I mean, we don’t want to, you know, I don’t I don’t, that’s, that’s not something that I want. You know, and I want to live in Burnside all my life, oh, well, I have, I don’t want to continue to live there. And I want a nice big backyard with trees and room to play, and so forth. And wash the car on weekends. You want you want space, we all want space but, but space is now coming at a cost, and it’s very high. And of course, we’ve got a lot of, you know, foreign investment coming into coming into the states, a lot of people coming from overseas. So we’ve got population growth here in Adelaide, we’ve got population growth across the country. And as a world, we are increasing our population. So the supply is fixed. You know, we can make more land in Burnside. We know what we have we have, and and the demand just keeps going up and up and up. And well, we know where it’s heading. But anyway, but that that’s, that’s for the future. That’s, you know, 20, 50, 100 years time. What we’re trying to deal with is, what sort of Burnside do we want now? That, that we can deal with, and so we’re putting, you know, laws around, you know, protecting protecting our significant trees, and so forth, we are lobbying the state government to, you know, keep open space requirements in place, you know, good, good open space requirements in place. So we’re doing all we can to make the best for Burnside now.
Simone Douglas 12:57
Yeah. Which I think is, you know, tricky in terms of you have to, like you said, look at today, look at five years time, and then you probably go as far as 20 years a maximum in terms of ongoing strategic plan for the council. Actually, that’s a good question. So where is the strategic plan for the council up to in terms of years?
Julian Carbone 13:18
Simone Douglas 13:20
2030? Ah there you go.
Julian Carbone 13:21
Oddly enough, that was only endorsed last night. So good timing. And, of course, one other thing I’ve noticed just sort of thinking about living trends and so forth. Just just in my time in council, we’ve noticed and of course, just in Burnside, we’ve noticed, you know, I mean, of course, knock down build to that’s a given, but we’ve also noticed a lot more people living in apartment buildings. So in just in the last, you know, 10 20 years, we’ve now got the air apartment building. Yeah. Okay, so that’s gone from an office block to residential. We’ve now got the Queen Victoria apartments, so that’s gone from a hospital to residential apartment building so that’s, that’s a big shift. And we’ve also got the new Cedar Woods estate in Glenside which is, which is a bit of a Lights View style sort of living arrangements, so so there again, more obvious noticeable trends as to where things are heading just in Burnside.
Simone Douglas 14:20
I think to is like in general cost of living so in apartments more cost effective. You’ve got less floor space to take care of, less electricity needs, all of those kinds of things.
Julian Carbone 14:31
Oh, look, that sort of style of living. It’s not for me. It’s not for me, but people who live there, they love it, they love it. They can, they can go overseas, they can just simply lock the front door and not worry about the lawn dying and so forth. So look that there is definitely a shift in in in lifestyle arrangements. It’s obvious all over the world and we are seeing it just in Burnside alone. You know, it’s, you know, we are a supply driven economy. So a demand driven economy. So, so that’s, that’s where people are heading. But again, you know, there’s always going to be market for apartments. And there’s always going to be, you know, a market for, you know, people with houses and backyards and so forth.
Simone Douglas 15:21
I think too when you were talking before about population growth, so obviously, to a degree population growth drives the economy. And so, you know, there’s been a lot of conversation of late around the fact that right now, migration and immigration is to a degree at a standstill, unless you’ve got some kind of, you know, special exemption, or, you know, a skill sort of shortage or something like that. In Burnside, itself as a as a council area, you know, how focused are you guys on social diversity and inclusion when it comes to economic development? So, is that a topic that you can speak to?
Julian Carbone 16:06
Yeah, it’s something we talked about. In fact, we talked about that only at a recent council meeting. We do have a very multicultural society. And I live in in Glenside, so we’ve got the Glenunga International High School, just around the corner, so we do have a high proportion of people from, you know, from China, from India, Southeast Asia, and so forth. So just just walking around the streets walking around Burnside village, you can see that we have we do have a very multicultural, you know, diverse little, little society. And, and just looking at the the restaurants that we have around the area, I mean, just literally around the corner for me again, we’ve got a lot of Italian restaurants, which of course I love. We’ve got again, yeah, some Indian restaurants and Thai and so forth. So, so we do have we are very, I like to consider ourselves to be a very multicultural society. The Burnside is held in high regards overseas. So when people choose to live in Adelaide, there are a lot of people who specifically choose the Burnside area to live in. Because of I mean, schools is a big part of it. And we do have to thank the Glenunga International High School because they have the International Baccalaureate, so so that’s a big driver for our area. But when you just jump on Google and speak to migration agents, and so forth, Burnside always ranks very highly.
Simone Douglas 17:34
No that makes sense. I was having a really interesting conversation with someone from Welcoming Futures the other day, and she was talking about the fact that, you know, diversity is a fact. But inclusivity is a choice. Do you think that, broadly speaking, are South Australians getting better at being inclusive of the diverse society that we have at our doorstep? Or do we still have a long way to go?
Julian Carbone 18:00
I think I think we are. I mean, I think as a as a as, I think as an Australia, we are we are getting more inclusive. I mean, my dad is naturally Italian. He wasn’t, he was born here. Yeah. Okay. So he didn’t migrate here, but his parents did migrate here. So you know, I have heard these stories of what my grandparents went through when they migrated in the in the 40s. What my dad went through, you know, growing up in high school in the in the 60s. And I just remember, to be honest, you know, the sort of things we used to say and do when I was in high school, or when I was in school in the in the 80s, and 90s. So, it’s a very different world. And you’d have to say, we are certainly a lot more a lot more inclusive, as a as a society.
Simone Douglas 18:52
Do you think it’s important? That’s a conversation that it’s important that we keep having to keep moving towards being less exclusive perhaps?
Julian Carbone 19:04
Yes, no, no, no, it’s Yeah, well, why would you why would you stop?
Simone Douglas 19:08
Well, yeah, no, I’d absolutely agree with you, but I think often it’s, it’s always interesting talking to those older generations in particular. So I think, like you said, as we move through, we can we grow and evolve, we become more informed. So digital, and social media means that we access news much quicker, and we have a much better understanding of people’s everyday experience. Some of our older compatriots, and I’ll put my mother in that bracket, you know, are much more removed from that constant flow of information and understanding and they kind of leave in their own world. So I think, you know, be great to see some initiatives, you know, talking back to the library thing, so there’s one way you can actually, in some libraries globally, did you know you can borrow a human instead so what they have is people from all different walks of life, and you literally go into the library, it’s a program that they run, and you can literally go, I would like to sit down with this human and have a conversation so that I can understand their experience. And I think maybe there’s room for initiatives like that, to give older people who are perhaps going to those libraries in opportunity to learn something else.
Julian Carbone 20:19
I’m a, I’m a big fan of our community bus programme. And I mean, half the people can drive You know, half these people are perfectly fine, going to the shops on their own, but they, they take up the bus program, and we promote the bus program, to make people more included in society. So it’s not just simply, you know, getting up getting dressed, going to the shops for … and coming home, and then waiting for the same time next week. It’s, it’s, they make it they have it, so they get to see all their friends, it’s more makes life more enjoyable, and so forth. We do have, you know, we do have a lot of people who are elderly, they’ve, they’ve probably lost their, their, their partners and their husband or their wife, you know, children, of course, are off working and busy, and they’ve got their own children and so forth. So just just again, just in my street in my suburb, you do see people who are, you know, a little bit isolated, you know, from from from the world. And so that’s why I’m always encouraging them to, you know, to phone the counsel, find out what services are available. I’m always, you know, I’m always talking to the staff about our you know, things like the bus program and so forth and what more can we do to get people who could be, you know, isolated or borderline isolated to be to be more engaged in our community.
Simone Douglas 21:40
Yeah nice. That’s probably a really good spot to end on. Julian, thanks very much for joining us today. And you’ll be able to find all of the links to Julian’s social media platforms as a counsellor in the comments above. And yeah, thanks very much.
Julian Carbone 21:56
Thanks for having me.
Chris Irving 21:59
Thank you for listening to the seriously social podcast. See our website for more details at www.socialmediaaok.com.au/podcast. Check the show notes for credits music used in the program and more details about our guests.