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 will be following as we frame the budget for the coming financial year commencing in June. 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.
Controversial development applications have highlighted the loss of control previously held by Councillors over developments. Residents concerned about inappropriate development have been alarmed to learn that Councillors now have no role at all in development applications. They want to be able to take their concerns to elected representatives. Council voted unanimously to oppose the unelected Local Planning Panels (formerly known as IHAPS) that have taken the role of Councillors. Those on these panels have little if any local ties and many of these panellists are likely to have developers as clients calling into question the independence of their decision making. Council considers taking away these remaining controls from Councillors is bad policy and the sooner it is overturned the better.
Recent articles in the press reported court hearings 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 will be expected to pay the costs of the by-election. My hope and expectation is that the ALP will take the necessary steps to avoid a by-election especially since the result is a foregone conclusion.