Fit For the Future: Why Randwick Council must put in a submission to the Boundaries Commission – 26th February 2016

Open Letter to the Randwick Council Precinct Committees on why they should not let Labor Councillors bungle the submission to the Boundaries Commission and allow the removal of Randwick City Councillors from office.

Dear precinct representatives.

After June this year most of the elected Council representatives on around 70 of NSW Councils will be removed from office and their Council’s abolished prior to their areas being merged. This is blatantly undemocratic but it is how the State Government intends to proceed.

The communities that these Councillors represent will lose their ability to direct how the new Council bodies deal with the public assets that their rates have built up for over one hundred years. Concerned residents in these areas wishing input into have to face up to meetings presided over by non-elected administrators appointed by the State Government. The agendas that these officials will pursue will be the direct wishes of the State Government, or if not that then, then decisions of expediency.

But last Tuesday Randwick voted to for a resolution that is intended to maintain your elected representatives in place to continue serving your interests. Please see the resolution below.

Clause 6 of the resolution is designed to emphasise to the State Government that your Councillors wish to be able to continue progress made to date on a package of major planning and infrastructure issues in our local area. These include ameliorating the impact of the light rail project, protecting Malabar Headland and retaining the Kingsford Market and Maroubra Bowling Club sites for community use. But they are only examples of the many smaller but still significant issues that the community would expect their Councillors to be in there batting for them on.

Four Councillors are attempting to remove this resolution and to prevent the Council making a submission by the deadline of the 28th of February, i.e. in only a few days.

These Councillors have no plan B for how to proceed after the deadline falls. No submission will most likely see Randwick’s Councillors dismissed by the middle of the year with the rest.

The follow up motion that these four Councillors intend to move makes no attempt to argue to the Local Government Minister the case for retaining themselves in office to represent you. It is also completely silent on the need to retain community representation on the issues that I have touched on above.

Their rescission motion will also prevent the Council from including in the submission a valid argument for the retention of a fair electoral system for Councillors. At present your local Councillors only need 25% of the vote to be elected – but outside interests would clearly like to see that quota pushed up to 33% or 50%. If that happens only Labor and Liberal Councillors will have a reasonable chance of being elected because of their party machines. Independents and minor parties will be swept aside.

Today I represented the interests to Council staff of an elderly resident in Randwick who is concerned that someone in her street has again destroyed some recently re-planted Council street trees. All of my colleagues would have similar stories to tell. Facilitating such interactions are part of our daily lives as your public representatives – but will be no more if Randwick is blocked from putting in a submission.

I welcome any questions that you or your precinct members may have.

Councillor Murray Matson 0409-984-58

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That:

  • Randwick City Council is fit and sustainable for the future and our community and council would prefer to remain as a stand-alone entity;

 

  • A Randwick Transition Working Group be established consisting of the proposed Local Transition Committee members;

 

  • Council endorse the attached Transition Leadership Framework including the Randwick Transition Group’s (RTG) delegations as outlined in the responsibilities of the RTG;

 

  • Council submit the attached ‘Randwick City Council – Council Boundary Review Submission on the Merger Proposal: Randwick, Waverley and Woollahra Councils’ to the Delegate,  Dr. Robert Lang, subject to any minor amendments;

 

  • Council submit the attached ‘Local Government Act Review – Phase 1 Amendments – Randwick City Council Submission’ to the Office of Local Government, subject to any minor amendments; and

 

  • That Council formerly advises the Minister for Local Government of its submission and seeks clarification that Randwick Councillors will be maintained in office during the transition process in order to oversee the following significant objectives on behalf of the local community;
  1. Advancing Council’s adopted Light Rail Support Plan and funding package in order to ameliorate the impact of the CBD to South East Light Rail on residents and local businesses;
  2. Finalizing purchasing the Government owned share of the old Kingsford Market site at fair cost;
  3. Initiating purchase by Council of the Maroubra Bowling Club site to keep it as a community asset serving community needs;
  4. Retaining direct community input via elected Councillors into setting planning controls for Kingsford and Kensington against current development pressure;
  5. Retaining direct community input via elected Councillors into the ongoing  upgrade of Heffron Park; and
  6. Retaining direct community input via elected Councillors into how Malabar Headland will be best protected and how the Coastal walkway will be extended around it.

 

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