Cost of living sparks robust debate on Campbelltown Council

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As far as notices of motions go, the one Cr Darcy Lound tabled at last night’s Campbelltown Council meeting was as run of the mill as you can get.

Cr Lound, now the Labor leader, wanted council to note that current cost of living pressures were affecting some local residents.

He also wanted council to properly investigate this issue, and off the back of that look at what it was already doing to help local residents – and what more it could do.

In short, Cr Darcy, as he himself said several times last night during the course of the debate on his motion, wanted council to let residents know that it cared about them and was looking at ways it may be able to help.

Simple or not, the motion by Cr Darcy, pictured, sparked a lively debate in the chamber the moment he sat down after reading out the wording.

Cr George Brticevic put up an alternative motion, or an amendment to the motion as they are technically called.

It is worth recalling that until the December 4 election last year Cr Brticevic was not only the Labor leader on council but also the mayor for the entire previous term.

However, after losing the mayoralty to Cr George Greiss in a vote in January, Cr Brticevic resigned from the Labor Party for reasons best known to himself.

Since the new council started sitting, Cr Brticevic, along with Cr Margaret Chivers, who joined him in resigning from the Labor Party, now sit between the independent councillors and the Liberal Party representatives.

Cr Brticevic’s amendment called for a report and briefing to councillors on resilience hazard assessment and writing to federal elections candidates asking them their policies on cost of living.

“The notice of motion is making assertions not based on data or evidence,’’ he said.

“Yes, there has been a crisis and council has supported our community in the past two years.

“Dr Freelander, the member for Macarthur, when the pandemic started, suggested we cut rates by 10 percent, but the director said it would mean 150 – 250 jobs cut or services cut.

“There are smarter ways to give relief.’’

Cr Brticevic doubled down on his criticism of Dr Freelander when he spoke for a second time in support of his amendment.

“Dr Freelander, an excellent paediatrician, he asked for a 10 per cent rate cut, he’s an excellent doctor, I am not sure of his economic credentials,’’ he said.

When put to the vote his amendment won the day, but it did so with a little help from the mayor, George Greiss.

His intervention means councillors will now get a report and a briefing on council’s rate assistance and hardship policy as well as on resilience hazard assessment.

“I agree we need to highlight what we are doing, which is a lot, so happy to look at our hardship policy and how we support our ratepayers,’’ Cr Greiss said.

“And I would look at changing our policy, if necessary.’’

Cr Lound said his motion was about being “sympathetic to the residents and families of this town’’.

“If this chamber wants to dodge a bullet and not let our residents know that we care that they are struggling, well, so be it,’’ he said.

“Council was very quick to drop an extra $13m into the billabong project; how far would that $13m now go in looking after local families.

“And at the moment I don’t even know where that project is going.’’

1 thought on “Cost of living sparks robust debate on Campbelltown Council”

  1. Cr Lound, Campbelltown Council is not a social service arm of the federal government. I wonder if Cr Lound would like to take that arm of govt over personally. Please note that Dr Freelander’s Labor party policy is not to increase social security for the unemployed or disadvantaged because the budget will not permit it. I suggest Cr Lound take a cut in his yearly council allowance to show solidarity with those he says are disadvantaged.


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