Today's question is: Is the suggestion that a Council is ‘dysfunctional’ and ‘toxic’ grounds enough to call for an early NSW Council election? According to a media release issued by Shadow Minister for Local Government Greg Warren we learn that Kiama MP, Gareth Ward, is calling for an early Shoalhaven City Council election Mr Ward has, according to the media release,described the council as ‘dysfunctional’ and ‘toxic’ and urged the Minister to intervene. If ‘dysfunctional’ and ‘toxic’ are the prerequisites for a call for an early election then it might be argued by many communities across the state, including Eurobodalla, that they too have councillor's that could be labeled as ‘dysfunctional’ and ‘toxic’
Above: 'Dysfunctional’ and ‘Toxic’ on a park bench ... or is this a case of 'Independents by name' who are less independent than they purport
Shadow Minister Greg Warren has questioned what motivated Mr Ward to call for the early election saying the call "must be quashed immediately" by the Minister for Local Government and South Coast MP, Shelley Hancock..
“There is little doubt in my mind that this is nothing but a political power play from the Member for Kiama,” Mr Warren said.
“This is simply an attempt to shore up Liberal numbers on the council.
“This is not a move being made in the best interests of Mr Ward’s constituents.
“If Mr Ward truly believed the council was ‘dysfunctional’ and ‘toxic’ then he should push for an administrator to be appointed to run the council – a move Minister Hancock has been all too happy to make in the past 12 months.”
Since October last year the Minister has: extended the administration period of Central Darling Shire Council by another four years (totalling 10 years); and appointed administrators to run Balranald Shire Council and Armidale Regional Council.
The Office of Local Government released its latest council circular today, stating local government elections would officially be postponed from September 2020 to September 4, 2021.
The notice came months after legislation was amended allowing the Minister for Local Government to postpone the upcoming local government elections – an order she failed to actually officially make until recently as a result of pressure from NSW Labor.
“For once Minister Hancock must show some leadership and knock Mr Ward’s ridiculous notion on the head immediately,” Mr Warren said.
“A simple ‘no Gareth’ is all that’s required from Minister Hancock.
“Given the NSW Liberals track record, it is highly hypocritical of Mr Ward to label another organisation ‘dysfunctional’ and ‘toxic’.
“This stoush going on between Minister Hancock and Mr Ward is a classic example of that dysfunction engulfing the NSW Liberals and Nationals.”