Well, another interesting night at Council on Wednesday night, I know I said I didn’t want to go anymore, but off I went again and unfortunately was again disillusioned and disappointed in the antics. It was a long night this time not finishing until 10:15pm
Firstly, there was a very lengthy (approx. 15 min) eulogy (more like “This is your Life”) read out by two Labor Councillors for the recently deceased ex-Prime Minister Gough Whitlam. Having spent the whole week prior listening to the radio and TV about Gough Whitlam, I was pretty much over it by this stage. Don’t get me wrong, I know there are a lot of people who admired the man greatly and are very saddened by the loss , his role in Australian Politics will be forever remembered by all parties, but seriously folks the guy was 98 and in cricket terms that is a pretty good innings. RIP Gough Whitlam.
My next gripe, several people in the audience were waiting for their matters to be decided on, only to have sit through two hours of “gobblygook”. The first two hours were dedicated to Eulogies, Mayoral Minutes (3) and several Notice of Motions raised by Councillors. Whilst I understand some of these Notice of Motions were important, they got bogged down with what appeared to be political posturing and point scoring and a lot of political grandstanding. A comment was made by one Councillor “that it appears that there is an election looming” and they are correct, a lot of the “discussion and statements” sounded very much like political rhetoric to me and the rest of the audience. My point here is that Councillors appear to have lost their way and the fact that Councillors first and foremost duty to residents is to represent their interest, but the most important part of that for residents is to have the concerns or development applications either approved or debated and that fact is getting lost in the “political melee” . In the audience that night were approx. 15 scouts watching these proceedings, I wonder what they thought of the whole thing especially when the first NOM was to regulate brothels in Liverpool and the words “sex industry” was spoken about 30 times. Of the 9 Notice of Motions not one was pertinent to the ratepayers in the audience awaiting decisions on their DA matters. I spoke to one of those residents later in the evening and they were very concerned that due to the lateness of their matter, Councillors were tired and did not give it the necessary examination it required, they were not happy with outcome at all and appear to have little recourse.
What I believe should happen is that DA matters are dealt with first to allow people to either stay or leave after their matter is heard. It almost appears that Councillors seem to like the fact that they have a captive audience to perform for, because usually once a resident has heard their particular matter they leave quite quickly and this leaves the usual five or six people only listening to their diatribe.
An interesting speaker earlier in the evening was a Price Waterhouse Cooper auditor who gave a financial overview of LCC’s current financial position. A glowing report was portrayed, however, I have had many financial training and dealings in my life and have been involved in some rather large multinational industries along with running my own business and the affairs of LCIT, and I have to say this was probably some of the best creative accounting I have heard in my life. Whilst LCC was given a good report and our finances appear to be in solid shape, (which is great) a fact not lost on the Liberal portion of Councillors who made sure they crowed about how well the Council was going under their leadership. I hate to burst their bubble but the current results are due to the last 6 years under the previous CEO and the previous Councillors. One of the results that amused me greatly and thank god Peter had the good sense to ask the same question, was how did we go from a backlog of $240 million in outstanding infrastructure projects just last year to approx. $63 million this year? Considering there has been no real increase in road maintenance, rubbish removals, park upgrades etc., I think that figure requires further explanation. Peter tried to get an answer but as with all financial personnel they speak in their own language intentionally, especially auditors to bamboozle us mere mortals.
I note though with interest that Council gave themselves an increase in Credit Card Limit aggregates from $150,000 to $550,000 – I can honestly say I don’t fully understand their processes concerning credit card use, who has them, how they use them, but it seemed like a substantial increase to me, oh and by the way in case you are wondering they do not get bonuses or frequent flyer points for using them, seems like there could be a better way.
I am not sure if most people know that Liverpool Council has 4 sister cities around the world and 1 in NSW, with the main one being Toda the only one visited in the past 6 years . Our most current sister city is Toda, Japan and there have been regular visitors from Japan visitors to Liverpool because of this partnership. A Councillor (who has business interests in China) has moved a Notice of Motion to investigate another Sister City partnership with a province in China to advance Liverpool, this is one I will reserve judgement on until I actually see what the benefits of adopting another sister city would be to ratepayers. Does the word “junket” come to mind or is it just me?
Badgerys Creek Taskforce – After a 3 month delay, the community and business member taskforce was finally decided (albeit very late in proceedings), again this was another political contentious issue. As the matter was left to almost the end of the meeting it was rushed and not properly debated. Peter tried to move the matter into a closed session to discuss the names put forward, however, with much toing and froing, objections, divisions called, the taskforce was decided.
Being the true Independent Peter is, he not only argued on my behalf to be appointed to the taskforce but also for another community member (albeit only as numbers on a confidential report). This community member although from another political party has been very active in the community and should have also been included, however, due to the current political climate they were not given a chance. We have now gone from 1 Business and 1 Community representative to approx.. 6 representatives. I am unsure of the makeup of the taskforce or who the other people are, as it was all supposed to be confidential. Apart from the ill-fated OASIS development, the proposed Airport will be one of the largest developments to happen in the Liverpool area and we need all the community representation we can muster. So I can now officially advise (as I have been contacted by Council) that I have been selected as a member of this taskforce and will represent not only the interests of Liverpool but most importantly the residents who will be affected by this development. Many thanks to Peter for getting me there.
And finally to end on a good note – congratulations to Criss Moore (our newest LCIT Member) and all the residents from the Casula Community Group for Responsible Planning Inc. they had a WIN on behalf of residents who opposed this development in residential Casula and as a consequence of their hard work this development application has been withdrawn at this stage. So folks, people power does count and again congratulations to Criss and her team for their continued determination, these things are never easy and can wear you down.
Well that’s my rant for the month and please note these are my personal opinions only and I would be more than happy for any comments.
Look forward to catching with all soon.
Kind RegardsPauline Rowe Secretary