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
Residents have been concerned at the amount of development not just in The Hills but throughout Sydney. Critical infrastructure has not kept pace with our rapid growth. The same roads, parks, sporting fields are having to cater to more and more people.
High levels of immigration is the cause of this unsustainable development. Recently, the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has called for a halving of the current immigration intake level. I strongly support these calls, at least until our infrastructure can be developed to a level that can cope with our current population numbers.
In addition, controversial development applications have highlighted the loss of control that Councillors once had over development applications. Residents concerned about inappropriate development have been alarmed to learn that Councillors now have no role at all in assessing and approving development applications. Residents want to be able to take their concerns to their elected representatives who can then act on their behalf.
Council voted unanimously to oppose the unelected panels that have taken the role of Councillors. Those on these panels have little if any local ties and many people on these panels are likely to have developers as clients. This calls into question the independence of their decision making. Council considers that taking away these remaining controls from Councillors is bad policy and the sooner it is overturned the better.
On a positive note I would like to congratulate our colleague Clr Haselden who has been elected unanimously as Deputy Mayor. I would also like to congratulate Clr Uno on the birth of their first child. This will be a wonderful experience but welcome to sleepless nights Clr Uno.
Finally, I would like to wish all our residents a very Merry Christmas and prosperous New Year in 2019.