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Local democracy under siege

Local democracy under siege

Local democracy under siege

Local Government in NSW and our rights in a democracy are under unprecedented attack.

A Bill currently before Parliament, the ‘Early Intervention Bill’, makes Councils answerable to the State Government. The Minister for Local Government would be able to suspend a council without a public inquiry and for reasons not defined in the legislation. This threatens the independence of local government and could be used to stifle Council initiatives which the State Government may not like.

It also could be used to intimidate councils that have advocated on behalf of their communities on issues such as excessive development, extended liquor licences, land use conflicts including CSG mining or defending open space.

The recent proposal to create a series of mega Sydney councils will put local democracy beyond the reach of ordinary communities. This has been strongly driven by developer and vested interest groups who would be the main beneficiaries of such a change.

Bigger is not always best – there are still strong resentments about the Kennett Government’s forced restructuring of Local Government in Victoria and the new Queensland Government has provided opportunities for councils to de-amalgamate.

 

Proposed planning laws will remove your right to comment on individual developments in your neighbourhood, limiting community input to an often complex and less specific strategic phase.

The issue is whether we as individuals care enough to defend our democratic rights, or whether we let big government, the major political parties and vested interests take those rights away and exploit them.

If you want to keep having an active role in creating and protecting what’s special in your local neighbourhood, then you need to speak up now.

Let the Premier know that you have rights in a democracy and that Local Government must be answerable to the local community, not to the State, not to party politics, and not to wealthy vested interests.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore

Last updated: Monday, 20 May 2013