✓Sensible with money ✓Accountable decision making ✓Fair planning ✓Environmentally responsible
Sensible with money
We want a community that thrives economically, socially and environmentally.
Since 2020 events beyond our control have exposed the vulnerabilities of relying on tourism and retail. Many Kiama businesses and their employees continue to be severely impacted by the fires of 2019 and are still struggling with the COVID pandemic, as are many Kiama residents working in Sydney, Wollongong or Nowra.
We want an economic base that is much broader than this. One that can adapt to opportunities as the world changes and as new clean technologies emerge. One that promotes local talent and innovation in small to medium businesses and one that strengthens and supports our rural and agricultural ventures. One that invests in our youth, natural habitats, renewable energy and, our ageing population: investing in these areas will make us stronger.
The community concern that Council’s finances have not been well managed have been validated. Since we announced our campaign platform in May 2020, Council has taken steps to inform the public about its financial position, established a financial advisory committee and, I along with the other councillors have been working together with Council staff to ensure that Council remains financially sustainable into the future.
Likewise, steps are now underway to make sure that Council staff are well supported and continue to have the skills necessary to develop, monitor and enact an economic plan built on accountability; a plan that will deliver positive outcomes for the community while respecting and upholding the characteristics and values that are important to the people of Kiama LGA.
ACCOUNTABLE DECISION MAKING
The community has the right to know who is in the room when the big decisions are made. To know who is responsible and who is accountable for the consequences of decisions.
Our Council can do better at informing the community about the way it conducts business. Community members have a right to information that is quickly accessible in a way that can be easily understood.
Misconduct and corruption in NSW local government is a well-known and ongoing challenge, from bullying and sexism, to misuse of grant funds, to gross conflicts of interest. A culture of integrity and a stronger stand on the prevention of misconduct and corruption will build the community’s trust in Kiama Council.
The integrity of our Council will be strengthened if all Councillors, the Mayor and Council staff know about the risks from fraud, corruption, and conflicts of interest and are encouraged and supported when reporting incidents.
Fair planning processes include all stakeholders; those who pay (ratepayers, taxpayers), those who will benefit, and those who will be disadvantaged.
What happens on our foreshores, on the ground, next door, and down the street must align with community values as expressed in the many expensive planning documents that line the shelves in Council.
Council can do more to ensure that upgrades to roads, parking, water, sewage and other services are adequate for community, holiday surges and new major developments.
Planning controls and planning decisions should be applied consistently and fairly – not one standard for big developers and another for local residents making home improvements. Tracking dwelling completions against projections is essential to ensure that the supply of infrastructure, health and education services are adequate as our community grows.
Fair planning means that all members of the community are treated equally and have equal access to Councillors and Council staff. Community values should be at the heart of planning decisions.
Photo credit: Brad Chilby
Our natural surroundings, waterways, beaches, flora, fauna, farmlands, and wildlife corridors should be valued and managed as the important asset they are.
Ecological diversity and social harmony are the foundations of a healthy and resilient community.
Healthy communities need green space in urban environments. They need healthy, diverse eco-systems and wildlife corridors. Our Council can do more to protect our rich and diverse local flora and fauna, particularly those on the endangered and threatened lists.
Council can do more to give incentives for community members, visitors, developers and local businesses to manage waste responsibly, to use clean energy solutions, to minimise the use of chemicals and plastics that often make their way into our soils, waterways and oceans.
As a community we have a responsibility to future generations to protect and preserve these assets.
Photo credit: Meryll Faulkner