The Coalition swept to power promising to return local decision-making to local communities, but the reality has been very different.
From entrenching business voting to forced amalgamations to opening up local tendering to corruption and now legislation that that would see council elections on the chopping block, local government has faced sustained attacks from the Coalition including:
- Introduced changes to the Local Government Act making it easy for councillors to vote on developments in which they have a direct financial interest.
- Failed to democratise local government elections by continuing to allow two and one-member wards, particularly in the Botany Local Government Area.
- Pushed through legislation barring State MPs from running in local government elections – a blatant attack on Sydney Lord Mayor and member for Sydney Clover Moore – denying local communities the ability to choose their representative.
- Effectively given money a vote in the City of Sydney by automatically giving corporations in local government elections
The latest move to undermine local democracy is the government’s ‘Fit For the Future’ package which seeks to amalgamate councils across the state. The package is essentially using financial blackmail to push for forced amalgamations.
The Greens and Local Government
The Greens NSW are committed to grassroots democracy. This means we support local councils being active, vibrant and genuinely local.
The Greens believe that local government is an essential part of our democracy because it is closest to the community and is in the best position to identify and respond to the needs of the community. Decisions should be made at the level closest to the people they affect.
Recognition for the central role local government plays in our democracy is a campaign that Senator Lee Rhiannon is focussing on at the federal level. Read more about her work on the issue here.
One of the four pillars of The Greens NSW is grassroots democracy. There are autonomous Greens local groups all across NSW working hard and campaigning on local issues in their local areas. You can find the Greens NSW local group in your area here.
Local government gives a crucial voice to local communities, particularly in rural and regional areas. Greens councillors promote heritage preservation, sustainable development, local employment and community service delivery.
There are over seventy Greens Councillors in NSW, including mayors and deputy mayors. Find out if your local area has a Greens councillor here.
Key issues for David in the Local Government portfolio:
- Fit for the Future? Fit for the dustbin.
- Strong support delivers Parliamentary Inquiry into Local Government and amalgamations
- Baird government pursues further erosion of local democracy
- Ugly politics produces ugly suburbs as Liberals attack trees
- Liberals and shooters team up to vote down democracy