Councillors: What exactly are you here for?
The Beagle Editor, Your readers might be interested in the presentation I am making to Eurobodalla councillors this morning (Tues 2nd Feb 2021) during the Public Access session that enables me to speak for seven minutes and then take questions. Morning Councillors
Do you remember your Oath of Office to undertake the duties of office of councillor in the best interests of the people of Eurobodalla Shire and the Eurobodalla Shire Council and that you will faithfully carry out the functions, powers, authorities and discretions vested in you under the Local Government Act 1993 or any other Act to the best of your ability and judgement?
I am speaking today on behalf of Our Council Our Say (formerly Our Towns Our Say). We have a Facebook following of close to 1,000 people and regularly post on social media/noticeboards with a reach of over several thousand.
Over the last three years, Our Towns Our Say held eight public meetings covering a number of issues including the Batemans Bay Regional Aquatic/Arts Centre, the new Batemans Bay Bridge Project, the ONE Eurobodalla Hospital and, most recently, the bushfires. All councillors were invited to each of these meetings. Surprisingly, only one councillor attended every single one of these, that councillor being Pat McGinlay, with Clrs Mayne and Constable managing to attend just one in Moruya. Mayor Innes, Deputy Mayor Rob Pollock, Clrs Brown, Nathan, Tait and Thomson did not attend any of these meetings.
I also represent Animal Liberation Batemans Bay. Animal Liberation is a non-profit animal rights organisation based in Sydney with over 46,000 followers/members in NSW. Recently, I sent an email to all councillors outlining public concerns over the cruelty to animals in rodeos, in particular, the Moruya Rodeo and the fact that all animal welfare organisations including the RSPCA do not support rodeos. I highlighted the breaches of the Protection of Cruelty to Animals Act. Reference was made to the fact that this council is responsible for the issuing of a licence for the annual rodeo event held on council managed land. Disappointingly, only one Councillor, Pat McGinlay, bothered to acknowledge receipt of this email and take any interest in this matter.
Sometime ago, I wrote to councillors regarding a very successful program instigated by Sunshine Coast Council where they installed posts along main road arteries giving off signals to our wildlife, in an attempt to reduce roadkill and collisions with animals that may lead to human death on our roads. There is much evidence that serious road accidents have been caused by people swerving to avoid colliding with wildlife. Again, no apparent interest in this program shown by our councillors, despite its proven success. Will you councillors investigate this initiative?
So the question in my mind is: What exactly are you here for?
If any of you hope to be re-elected in September, you will need to improve your communication with members of the community who genuinely seek to engage with you on matters of concern to them. Otherwise, don’t nominate and make way for others that have the public interest at heart.