It is an honour and a privilege to represent the residents of the Hills Shire. The support from the community has been overwhelming and very humbling. The values I bring to council are:
- Financial prudence
- Less bureaucracy
- Less regulation
- Responsible governance
These are the values I am following for the budget for the coming financial year. More than most governments, your council spends your rates in a responsible and prudent manner. I always question the benefit to residents from activities of Council. And importantly we restrain the bureaucracy of Council. This is the single most important driver of costs for any government. It is not just the wages, it is mostly the cost of the activities that they generate.
For each term of Council, we need to establish an organisational structure.
This has been completed and we are now filling some of the executive roles. My commitment is to work to have a organisational structure that is responsive and supportive to our residents and their values.
It is a priority of Council that the organisation respects and is responsive to our residents. So many governments use fines as a means to supplement their revenues. It is insidious. It is wrong. Your council opposes this approach. We do not engage in using fines for revenues.
We monitor fines on residents to ensure it is used as a last resort and try and keep it to a minimum. You might know that The Hills Shire Council also does not have paid parking. You might know that The Hills Shire Council has possibly the lowest council rates in Australia in relation to the value of your property. This is your council representing its residents.
Changes to the suburb names in my own West Ward have now been approved and adopted. We now have an extension of Bella Vista into some of our new exclusive areas. The centre of Norwest has been named Norwest.
These changes have been driven by our residents and have been very popular with the community.
Recent articles in the press reported hearings in court that led to the resignation of an ALP councillor. This will result in a by-election costing ratepayers an estimated $200,000. It is not fair that our residents pay for this. They are not responsible for the behaviour of a party endorsed councillor yet they will be expected to pay the costs of the by-election. I am so disappointed that there is not more concern shown for the costs incurred because of their endorsed councillor.