Coun­cils ‘no’ to change

Hills Gazette (Kalamunda) - - SAWYERS VALLEY BLAZE - Sarah Brookes

THE City of Swan says there is no place for party pol­i­tics in lo­cal gov­ern­ment.

It comes af­ter Greens leader Richard Di Natale this week an­nounced a push to move Aus­tralia Day from Jan­uary 26 would be a top pri­or­ity for the Greens this year, pledg­ing to use the party’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives in lo­cal gov­ern­ment to in­flu­ence how com­mu­ni­ties mark the oc­ca­sion.

Sen­a­tor Di Natale had said the Greens would use its 100 mem­bers in coun­cils na­tion­ally to push mov­ing Aus­tralia Day, which has been changed at three Mel­bourne coun­cils, fol­low­ing Fre­man­tle Coun­cil’s lead last year.

How­ever, City of Swan Deputy Mayor Kevin Bai­ley said all coun­cil­lors should be in­de­pen­dent and un­bi­ased in their con­sid­er­a­tion of the com­plex is­sues of good gov­er­nance.

“Lo­cal gov­ern­ment... should be free of po­lit­i­cal ide­olo­gies and in­flu­ences,” he said. “Coun­cil­lors are elected to achieve the best out­comes for the whole com­mu­nity and that can­not be achieved when they are work­ing to a po­lit­i­cal agenda.”

Shire of Mun­dar­ing Pres­i­dent Cr John Daw hit out about the per­ceived con­trol that po­lit­i­cal par­ties might have over coun­cils.

“One of the great things about lo­cal gov­ern­ments is their in­de­pen­dence,” he said.

“Coun­cil is not af­fil­i­ated with any po­lit­i­cal party, in­clud­ing the Greens, and is not po­lit­i­cally obliged in its de­ci­sion mak­ing, and there­fore car­ries no party po­lit­i­cal bag­gage.”

Mean­while the City of Kalamunda en­cour­aged the com­mu­nity to share their views on the is­sue.

Mayor John Giar­dina said cur­rently the City has a cit­i­zen­ship cer­e­mony and a pool party at Kalamunda Wa­ter Park to mark Aus­tralia Day.

“Coun­cil­lors are elected to rep­re­sent the in­ter­ests of the com­mu­nity lo­cally, not those of a po­lit­i­cal party, and I en­cour­age com­mu­nity mem­bers to give us their views on the is­sue,” he said.

Stir­ling Mayor Mark Ir­win ac­knowl­edged that feed­back re­ceived from the Abo­rig­i­nal com­mu­nity was di­vided but did not be­lieve it a mat­ter for lo­cal gov­ern­ment to de­ter­mine.

“The City will con­tinue to hold our Aus­tralia Day awards fol­lowed by a cit­i­zen­ship cer­e­mony and will use this day to cel­e­brate our great coun­try,” he said.

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