How accountable and transparent has your council been?

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It is now certain the council elections will go ahead on December 4.

The current term is now into its sixth year, which is rather unfortunate, especially for those areas with a poorly performing council.

And there’s one or two in our midst, especially when it comes to matters of transparency and accountability.

We’ll have a bit more to say closer to December 4, but in the meantime it is pleasing to note that plenty of local residents take an active interest in what their council gets up to.

It can always be better, and indeed it would be better that more people spent a little bit of time to learn for example how extraordinarily well paid council general managers are performing.

Same goes for current councillors, but especially mayors who have been in the job for years.

Vigilance may require some work on the part of the ratepayers, but it pays off if the end result is a council that will make your local government area a better place to live, work and play.

Is your council wasting money on consultants or the wrong priorities are things you’d need to know because, after all, it’s your money.

There’s no doubt that in recent years a lot of councils have got away from the basics of local government – rates, rubbish and roads.

Some of them now focus on warm and fuzzy ideas, so they spend money on them while thousands of residents live in streets without footpaths.

Now it’s true just about every planning proposal is put on public exhibition.

More than that, councils now ask for residents’ views on every little thing they want to do, no matter how trivial.

But in reality, there is no real transparency or accountability on the council decisions that matter.

Indeed secrecy surrounding some council activities has got worse over the past five years as they seek to hide decisions they know would be unpopular if out in the open.

There are a lot more issues, but to me the December 4 elections in outer South Western Sydney should mainly be about two words: accountability and transparency.

2 thoughts on “How accountable and transparent has your council been?”

  1. While it’s true that almost every planning proposal is put on public display, those involving Development Applications, often involving large housing estates, are not able to be influenced by elected Councillors. Only those dealing with zoning matters are, meaning major decisions affecting residents are made by unelected bureaucrats and those appointed by State Authorities with minor input from Elected Councillors.

  2. I couldn’t agree more. Far too often there is an attitude of, “we know what’s best and the community doesn’t need to know” entrenched in local Councils. I personally have seen attempts made to move items of business into closed session without proper cause and have spoken out against them. Councillors need to fully understand that they are there to represent their constituents with honesty, accountability and transparency. There is no place on Local Councils for personal agendas and political ambition.


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