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New law puts community before developers and real estate agents

Developers and real estate agents are one step closer to being banned from holding a position on local council thanks to NSW Labor.
 
Despite the NSW Liberals and Nationals best attempts to block it, the Local Government Amendment (Disqualification from Civic Office) Bill 2020 passed through the Legislative Council yesterday.
 
The bill aims to remove the conflicts of interest faced by developers and estate agents serving on council and to ensure a community’s best interest are the forefront of a council’s decision making.
 
Local government minister Shelley Hancock has repeatedly refused to confirm whether she would support or oppose the legislation, however she will now have no choice with the bill due to be debated in the Legislative Assembly.
 
Shadow minister for local government Greg Warren has urged the NSW Liberals and Nationals to support the bill and prioritise the needs of communities over developers.
 
“Council representatives have access to planning information that the general public doesn’t,” Mr Warren said.
 
“Should a developer or real estate agent get their hands on that information, it presents all sorts of issues in terms of conflicts of interest.
 
“The NSW Liberals and Nationals need to stop being concerned about lining the pockets of their developer mates, prioritise the needs of communities throughout NSW, and support this bill in the Legislative Assembly.”
 
Opposition whip in the upper house of the NSW parliament, Mark Buttigieg, a staunch advocate of the ban, said the NSW Government’s decision to oppose the bill in the Legislative Council was predictably disappointing.
 
“This government has shown time and time again that they are more interested in lining the pockets of developers that protecting the best interests of the general public,” he said.
 
“Councillors are elected to serve their communities, not their own self-interest.
 
“It has been Labor Party policy for some time that property developers and real estate agents should not serve as councillors. Our party’s rules ensure that they cannot be selected or endorsed as a candidate for council.’’

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