At a time when Greater Taree City Council should be picking up its skirts and dusting itself off and putting a best foot forward, it has chosen instead to retreat and sulk in a corner.
In an astounding move, the Council voted 5 to 3 to spurn an invitation from the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) to attend the 2016 General Assembly in June at Parliament House, Canberra. This is an event expected to be attended by the Prime Minister, The Leader of the Opposition, Cabinet Ministers and Council representatives from all over Australia.
Mayoral hopeful, Cr Alan Tickle, moved the motion that a letter be sent in response stating:
“That the invitation to send a delegate to the National General Assembly be declined, as confidence in the Australian Local Government Association’s ability to achieve a review of the Federal Assistance Grants to ensure equitable distribution for regional councils, is lacking.”
So, our Council will take its bat and ball and go home, rather than join a prestigious and influential group to lobby, make contacts, raise ideas and suggestions, and enter into the spirited debate to fight for GTCC ratepayers.
We could be sending two representatives. Cr Brad Christensen has attended the past two ALGA meetings, but did not speak in the debates.
And, if you listen to the recording of the Council meeting where Cr Tickle held forth, maybe holding one’s tongue might do less harm.
We need councilors, to represent us, who understand the minutiae of regulations and options, who can come up with ideas, build credibility, work a room, debate articulately, and fight, in the nicest possible way, to lobby and present our agenda. Such as previous representatives, like former Cr Mave Richardson, who spoke well and could to bat on a charm offensive to achieve ends.
Or Cr Peter Epov, who created a strategic campaign and spoke impressively in Parliament in Sydney (I was present) to stop the Transgrid power lines being erected in our valley, would be equally effective.
Is it any wonder that we are being forced to amalgamate, when GTCC has not gone out into the community in any serious way, to listen to views or put together a comprehensive submission to IPART. Great Lakes Council has produced an impressive 100 plus page submission, but GTCC seems to have just ticked the basics. Maybe
Maybe they’re on holidays. Too busy protecting their patch? Looking for a new job?
Do ratepayers get what they pay for? Glancing at the executives’ lucrative salary packages, many think not. Can we do any worse under amalgamation?
It’s all very frustrating for our councilors who do know what they’re doing and can string an articulate argument together.