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De-amalgamate! And put the local back into local…

The Inner West community will be asked their thoughts on de-amalgamation at the Local Elections on December 4. Photo: Hector Abrahams Architects.

Opinion by PETER HEHIR

With the decision due in relation to what has been described as “several counts of misconduct in 2019” during the execution of his mayoral duties, the Balmain electorate awaits the fate of Mayor Darcy Byrne.

It was reported in the Sydney Morning Herald and Telegraph on Wednesday that Mr Byrne told an NSW Civil and Administrative disciplinary Tribunal hearing that he “regrets” his actions, which both articles suggest may well jeopardise his bid for re-election.

The pro mega Inner West Council’s mayor is one of the three incumbent councillors for the Balmain ward.

However the sitting independent, John Stamolis – a strong and vocal advocate for de-amalgamation – states that regardless of the mayor’s fate, he has always been concerned that the mayor lives out of the area; and not in the ward that he represents.

Emphasis on Local

Mr Stamolis firmly believes the point of local representation in local government should be obvious to – and the concern of – each and every elector.

Putting local back into government means electing candidates who will actively campaign for de-amalgamation.

The major parties obviously preselect members of those parties who reside in the LGA, but they also exploit a loophole that permits someone who lives a considerable distance from the ward they are supposed to represent, to get elected; and so ensure national and state policies are adhered to, regardless of the local impact.

Sydney is almost unique in that in most of the country, both Liberal and Labor Parties leave local government to true representatives of the community, those whose primary interest is to safeguard the amenity of the area in which they live.

The extent of the corruption at the State level – which has now clearly been proven to have thrived within the higher ranks of the Labor Party, with the conviction of ALP Ministers Macdonald, Obeid and his son, clearly opened the floodgates for the pro developer Liberal Party in the election that followed here in NSW, to swing the wrecking ball and tear the heart out of our Victorian streetscapes.

With the funding from developers swelling their election budgets, both major parties have embraced policies that foster a frenzy of private infrastructure spending coupled with high-rise/high-density development, to the detriment of those who have always lived in the quiet historic enclaves of cottage and terrace housing, in the ring of Victorian suburbs that encircle the CBD.

We need true independents with a proven track record. Don’t be fooled by the majors. The rats are indeed in the ranks.

The approved infrastructure projects near the corner of Darling Street and Victoria Road in Rozelle and the destruction of Pyrmont/Ultimo are but the harbingers of even uglier things to come…

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