Monday 22 April 2024


Dear Friends and Owners of Unley,

I hope you enjoy the winter news with just a taste of things happening in Unley…. Including Free event on Unley Oval May 4th.

There is so much happening in our budget that all I have done is indicated that for the fifth year our rate rise is below expected CPI. Yet we are delivering so much that I encourage you to open the link and explore. (Right Click and then open the link.

2024 2025  Budget for Consultation

The residential rates across Unley have decreased by 5.5% after inflation over the past five years. This year the budgeted rate rise is 3.75%. We believe this may also be below inflation. Our Council costs and salaries are very much tied to inflation so the reduction of debt from around $14M to $4M whilst providing excellent services underlines the great management here in Unley.  My thanks and congratulations to  our to our staff, volunteers and my fellow Councillors. 34% of our residents are renters, and not so because they are rich. With high inflation, rising electricity costs, I am proud that our Council is presenting the budget for consultation.  

2019 -20

2020 - 21

2021 -22

2022 - 23


Financial Year






Number of Residences






Total rate paid

 $             1,882.61

 $          1,890.16

 $      1,897.55

 $         1,986.05

 $             2,100.00







CPI for year

March -March






Average rate rise







March -March






Rate rise after Inflation



However, the bottom line is Councils are about people and the future liveability of Unley. We are developing our plan to 2050 and our shaping Unley tree canopy on private property shows that we received 668 individual submissions from you asking for a minimum % tree canopy on ALL development sites that increase the building footprint. Our planet is getting hotter, and people die when the temperature is in the 50’s and you cannot afford air-conditioning.

With my thanks for your involvement and concern,

best wishes,


Tuesday 13 February 2024


Dear Friends and owners of Unley,

I hope you enjoy the Autumn news attached along with the links for more information.


In one way we were lucky, we had a November rain event that dropped in a few hours of rain at the once-in-220-years rate.

We were already undertaking an analysis of solutions and some properties were flooded. The estimated cost to fix the lot is over $39 Million. We have already spent about $7 million on capital works including the very successful Ridge Park dam. At our February meeting, we will receive a Council report with our flooding recommendations and plans. This will miss my Autumn newsletter so if you want an immediate update please ask to be put on my flood email group. It is a complex issue because a lot of our creek system is privately owned, and if the owners allow it to become overgrown, or make dam-like infills, their property will flood.




By the time you read this e-scooters for hire will have been removed from Unley with a Council vote of 6-5. The main problem in Unley is we have lots of narrow footpaths and the e-scooters often fall over and become tripping hazards, especially at night. However, more people are now using the e-scooters to go to work than walk to work so many will wish we were continuing. The State Government is considering allowing privately owned e-scooters. Because we have 40 kph local roads these scooters could use the roadway rather than the footpath.

With my best wishes,         Michael

Thursday 8 February 2024


Dear Friends and Owners of Unley,

 Summer is coming and Unley continues to lose trees. Unless we change what we are doing, the children of Unley will experience summer days of well over 50°C temperature. 12°C hotter than now. In the newsletter are letters from residents putting the Council on the spot.    If council members are worried about losing votes for this charge, I can assure you that there would be an equal, if not greater, number of residents who would give their total support, who in fact are crying out for action! So, what are you, as the mayor, planning to do about it?  The link for the answer is a click on  Inner Suburban Tree Canopy – Let’s Get Real!  We require the SA Minister for Planning’s signature to implement our City of Unley proposed solution.

Some good news…

Open Space:  Council has recognised that the biggest unfunded need caused by the high rise and infill growth is our reducing open space / per person….   See the newsletter story and our solution to meet this need.

The Parking plan for all of Unley :

$3,000 and $6,000 grants available to many Unley residents.

Footpath Budget review:

 A great annual family event is coming on Sunday, December 10th.  Christmas is coming fast and our Unley Rotary Club is running our Christmas Carols in the Memorial Gardens. We owe so much to those in Unley who voluntarily give to make Unley a joyful place to live, share, and enjoy. Thank you, Unley Rotary.

Wishing you all a joyful,  wonder-filled Christmas, a relaxed summer season, and a prosperous new Year,

 With my best wishes,


Thursday 27 July 2023


Dear Friends and Owners of Unley,

You may think that the hottest event is the unprecedented 46°C temperatures in the European cities. The TV pictures show lots of baking houses and very, very, few trees. The hottest until our summer seems to be……

Following publication in the Advertiser, the Council and Mayor have received many complaints about Council holding our Australia Day Citizens’ ceremony on the evening before.

 The facts,

·                       The date of Australia Day is a Commonwealth responsibility, not the Local Government.

·                       The Commonwealth gave us the decision to make as to whether to hold our Citizenship ceremony                     on any one of three days.

·                       The elected Council on behalf of our community voted 7-5 to hold the Citizenship ceremony the                         evening before in Jan  2024

·       For 2025 Council will need to decide once again what to do.

I was asked, “ Shouldn’t you consult and find out what your community wants?” Answer: Our Unley residents can contact their local Ward Councillor. Our Councillors listen. However, whatever Council decides, it tends to be only those who disagree who speak up.

·       Australia Day celebrations these days are rightly far more inclusive of Aboriginal communities and issues.

We have much to celebrate as a multicultural democratic nation. I am glad I was born an Australian Citizen, and I am pleased to welcome others who wish to join us.

With my best wishes,



Thursday 27 April 2023


Dear Friends and Owners of Unley,

Please find attached my 2023 Winter Newsletter. Items include:

4 Unley Ovals to go?                                           Keswick TOD over Wayville Station

10 Business Proposals                                               Tour Down Under 24

Rates 3% below CPI?                                                 More Highrise SCAP

Forestville Overpass                                                  Brews & Bars

Parkside walking tour                                               Brown Hill Creek Trees to go

 Once again, my newsletter includes stories you have shared with me which I highly value.  We all own our Council, and it is a privilege to work with you to make Unley a better place.

Our new Council is working well together with a unanimous draft budget going out for consultation. A number of the newsletter items cover the budget issues for you to consider. We have close and contentious votes, but we are still working together.

You will also find attached the links for items in the newsletter. For example, an ABC article stated that last year wages went up by 3.3% and costs by 7.8%.

With my best wishes,


Buying Carbon offsets vs direct action

Australian councils told to cut emissions rather than spend millions on overseas carbon offsets | Carbon offsetting | The Guardian


Australians experienced their largest real wage decline on record in 2022

Friday 3 March 2023


Dear Friends and Owners of Unley,

Please enjoy the Autumn News, having survived last week’s 41°C you may like to see the link on my new Mayoral Unley Facebook page the link to the article, ‘We’re doomed’: Expert loses it over the jaw-dropping image.

This new page seeks to build our community with accurate information about things Unley. You are welcome to join in to provide links to your story and events. Please ‘like’ or ‘follow’ the page to show your support.

On Monday night our Council unanimously resolved to approve the submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry to the Urban Forest: Parliamentary Urban Forest inquiry Unley Council Submission.   The link to my complementary submission is, Why we lose our trees, $552,857.07 submission to Parliament Mayor.

This newsletter contains the following stories

ROLE OF Council?  Australians want more from Councils or do we?

Unley loses $552,857 

Unley Road Plans

Free Fringe events

Citizen of the year

Two more schools safe to cycle to.

LeCornu park needed.

Reformed smoker?

At the Council Meeting on Monday; with the Council vote I expect to result in spending the estimated $190,000 of Australian carbon credit shortfall to be Carbon neutral within Unley. This will actively reduce our Carbon emissions within Unley, but we would not be Carbon neutral until 2030. I hope we can achieve Carbon Zero by then! I have attached the motion and voting for this and the Tour Down Under motion and voting as a late press release. Go to the Mayor’s Facebook page where I will discuss the meeting and the 2023-4 budget.

With my best wishes,


Mayor Michael Hewitson AM

Council’s submission to the parliamentary inquiry into trees canopy can be found and to Council Planning Rules submission to Ministerial review here.

  • Every Year we lose another 2 Unley ovals of trees and we have less than 200 across the whole city,
  • A once-off offset payment is a license to never plant trees.
  • In four years of accelerated planting Unley will run out of Council land, we need to increase from 22% to 27% canopy on private property.

I have made a complementary submission as Mayor to highlight the lack of power the Council has to enforce even the weak current rules. and what we need to do, Mayor Planning Rules submission on trees to Ministerial review