‘Be careful who you vote for’
I was one of the audience at the Candidates Forum held at the Mittagong RSL on February 4.
Thank you to the organisers and the candidates for the opportunity.
Generally speaking it was a successful evening. From my perspective though, it was marred to an extent by the taking of the opportunity to bash the local council as much as hear from the candidates.
No local council will ever satisfy all the demands of every ratepayer. The one we have isn’t perfect, but calls to have it replaced by an administrator, or the general manager be replaced by a government appointed stand-in, need to be carefully thought through.
The government that would do the appointing is hell bent on development – at any cost.
Their nominee would be a political appointment and bound to do their bidding. They would, in all probability, not be local and have no empathy with our community.
The law, particularly as it applies to developments, would be applied strictly by the book, with an underlying bias favouring development. Community consultation, unsatisfactory to some as it may be now, would become negligible.
I suggest that in the barrage of criticism levelled at council and staff it be remembered that when amalgamations of councils was flavour of the month with the current government, it was the current staff under the direction of the current general manager who put the case together working extraordinary hours to have Wingecarribee declared “fit for the future” and not subject to amalgamation.
As a wouncil watcher of some duration I am convinced that had it been left to the then or current councillors we would have been amalgamated – with Wollondilly.
Given that the Liberal candidate on the night stated that council was a shambles we should be very grateful.
Finally the community should be aware of the introduction of Local Planning Panels, commented on disparagingly by the Independent candidate for Wollondilly (and ex-Mayor), Judith Hannan.
These panels are drawn from a panel appointed by the government, and will make decision on “contentious” developments, rather than the elected council.
Any development proposal that attracts more than 10 objections, must go to the panel. Thus, regardless of size or value, if the community objects strongly, the decision and influence will be taken away to the faceless members of the panel. Expert they may be – aware of local issues they will not be. The lone community representative is pretty well knobbled under the legislation.
It is a lay down misere that developer-friendly councillors will promote this system for our shire. In fact there was a Notice of Motion put forward asking for it to be considered on November 28 last year.
So be careful who you vote for!
‘Attempt to destroy’
What does failed ex-Liberal Party leader John Hewson have to say about failed ex-Liberal Party PM Malcolm Turnbull’s initiative backing long time (loyalists) in seats held by Tony Abbott (Zale Steggall), Greg Hunt (Julia Banks), Jason Falinski in Mackellar (Alice Thompson); all timed to duplicate GetUp’s attempt to destroy the Morrison Government in the upcoming election?