2017 begins with the Big Hurdle: RATES!

The next stage in the submission process that Council is undertaking to make a rate increase was Carried on Thursday 2nd February.  The obstructive Rescission Motion mounted by the Independents following a long debate the previous evening was defeated after no fresh arguments were brought to the debate.

Flagged during the Greens campaign, the raising of the rates is now upon us, both as rate-payers and as Greens supporters. As rate-payers we hesitate; as supporters of the difficult decisions the three Greens councillors and our mayor have to advance, we are behind them. We have no choice. Previous Councils over the years have run down the quality of repairs and maintenance our local roads, the item at the top of most rate-payers list of criticism; following the increased seasonal influx of visitors, the strains on the system are too evident.

Unfortunately, in spite of indications after the elections that there was to be a willingness to find a consensus in Council, Shoalhaven Independents pursued a program of misinformation.

The Shoalhaven Independents continued their anti-rates-rise protest meetings that misinformed and misled. The Independents presented to Council a motion that they have been rolling up to their protest meetings to call for the rate rise to be abandoned, a Citizens Jury to be established, a waste committee and a working group of corporate citizens to be setup. All to frustrate what needs to happen as the next step, part of the submission process that Council is undertaking and reporting to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal as part of the consultation package.

The real purpose of this is quite clear – in 2020 the Independents want to make the statement that this Council failed to deliver services and they are attempting to achieve this through their current no rate-rise campaign. The Independents presented a one-sided presentation to their meetings and created a situation where people felt like the sky is falling in.

The Greens mayor, Amanda Findley has appealed to rate-payers: “I call on all residents to work together to improve the prosperity of the Shoalhaven and support the average $2.50 per week rate rise and get the facts on the issue rather than the pulp fiction being delivered by the Independents.”

At the Council meeting on 1st February, a majority of councillors voted to move to the next stage of setting a rate increase. The Independents, who had bought a cheer squad along and who debated crudely, not only voted against, but immediately submitted a Rescission Motion to frustrate the process further. Is this the beginning of a process of attempting to stymie the work of Council?

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