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Tuesday July 8th - Council
following statement was read by Councillor Peter Schwarz
when asked to speak to the subject of the BROULEE BIODIVERSITY
This is a very unfortunate business and I feel for the landowners
in Broulee. ERA wants this development to go ahead, but
unhindered by this draconian strategy.
I do not believe the landowners or the community have been
given a fair go.
For too long has this Council been too cosy
with the to the extreme agenda of The Office of Environment
and Heritage. This poor excuse for bureaucracy must be reformed
and I call on the State Baird Government to do so with urgency.
OEH’s decision making has been the cause
of much division in our Shire and beyond.
Anyone who has been following the shambles
of our rural LEP, and the fury that it still present in
the community, as witnessed last week at the rural workshops,
one can look no further than these faceless men and women
who have NO respect for private freehold land ownership.
Slapping EEC''s and other harsh and unnecessary
environmental constraints on private land, as they see fit,
their agenda, without just compensation, is an outrage!
This Bio banking, Bio Certification Strategy
is a collaboration of our Planning staff and the OEH, and,
as others have said, such as Councilor Pollock and Councilor
Thomson, we, the community and the landowners, have been
Well, ERA and I do not believe in doing deals
with zealots who blackmail our community.
House prices and development costs are dear
enough in this State and in this Shire, without having this
RUBBISH on loaded on top. If this scheme goes bust, the
ratepayer will be left holding the bag to the tune of millions.
Since when did Australians concede to being
We are not living in some totalitarian dictatorial state!
I believe this scheme, to be a convoluted and
ill though and burdensome on our community forever. I fear
for the future.
We have been lobbying our local Member Andrew
Constance, the NSW Treasurer, to closely examine their individual
land tax situation. He stated on radio last week that he
would do such and I strongly advise the effected Broulee
landholders to keep him to his word. The likes of the Gillans
have kept their word.
The NSW government was elected on the premise
of cutting red and green tape. We are calling for action
and a real review.
Hollow words and ministerial fob offs have
got stop and action and the repeal of legislation must occur.
I also implore my fellow Councilors’
to reconsider their decision pending a meeting next week
with new Environment Minister Stokes, Planning Minister
Goward and Treasurer Andrew Constances’ representatives
We will press most strongly the NSW State Government
to immediately abolish this clandestine piece of socialist
Come with us fellow Councillors to this meeting.
A last stand as it will. Please do not push on, support
this rescission motion and come with us to help negotiate
a better solution for developers and the community.
Rejection of this policy strategy is easier
to argue than excepting it, but then begging for it to be
repealed later will be harder.
Acceptance of this scheme will make Eurobodalla
an investment risk, which will lead to a continued economic
and social decline into his region.
I/we understand that Broulee must develop and
fully support it but surely we cannot give in and capitulate
so easily. We must press our case one last time most strongly.
If the result of the State bio diversity review
currently underway, to come before Cabinet immediately,
bears no fruit, we will hesitantly back Broulee development
in its current proposed form, but we, ERA will always oppose
Bio banking/ bio certification strategy.
Lets not paint ourselves into a corner.
Lets fight for A Fair Go. I commend this rescission Motion
and its amendment to the Chamber
2nd June 2014
A LONG OVERDUE
STAND AGAINST STIFLING OVER-REGULATION
ERA POSITION PAPER 1 JULY '14
the past week, the ERA has come under fire from some sections
of the development community for our stand against bio -
ERA's decision was not taken lightly, due to the fact that
it is central to our base principles of supporting sensible
development that promotes economic and social benefits while,
at the same time, defending property owner's rights. The
price suggested for the achievement of the first aim, delivered
to us last week, is simply too high to support the tenet
of defending the latter; property owner's rights.
For too long, successive state and local governments have
refused to take a stand and, even 'though admitting schemes
such as 'bio-cert' are flawed and largely accepted as being
economic blackmail, have refused to take any action. WELL,
We have taken a stand against 'bio-cert' to highlight to
the state government and our local community that we have
faith that the review, which they have assured us is genuine.
It will highlight huge flaws and potential economic disaster,
not only for our shire but the entire state, if the present
process is to continue unchecked. 'Bio-cert' will no doubt
become a bigger issue than the disastrous LEP E3 debacle
if it isn't halted, especially for rural NSW. Anyone owning
land with native vegetation should have alarm bells ringing
very loudly in their ears when it comes to seeking to do
any potential development.
South Moruya --- you are next!
ERA urges new ministers Prue Goward and Rob Stokes to act
swiftly and decisively. ERA believes that due to the unique
circumstances surrounding the offset lands that are proposed
in this particular case, the Minister may be able to use
her executive powers to permit this development, which is
well supported locally, to proceed without the burden of
What of concerns surrounding offset lands?
The proposed offset lands are PUBLIC and are already protected
by a conservation order. They are under no threat of development.
Developers are being forced to contribute huge sums of money
into a bio - banking scheme that is fraught with inherent
economic shortcomings which will potentially lead to collapse.
If the bio-banking scheme fails, as predicted, then will
the good 'ol Eurobodalla ratepayer will be left to foot
Sound complicated? Well it is.
ERA has taken a principled stand. We do not intend to prolong
the delay and fully support the proposed development at
Broulee, but NOT with the burden of bio - certification.
We appreciate the support of our local member and Treasurer,
Andrew Constance and agree with him that the current proposal
is untenable. We have no doubt his government is striving
with us to reduce green tape which is strangling this state.
It would be great to do this within in a united manner but
we fear that we are on our own within the halls of Eurobodalla
We want 'bio - cert' scrapped.
enquiries; Neil Burnside 0418 156389 ; liz Innes 0418 193518
26 May 2014
ERA councillors call for removal of E3 zoning from Standard
Instrument Local Environment Plan
Ratepayer Action party councillors on Eurobodalla Shire
council call on the NSW Minister for Planning and Environment,
Prue Goward, to remove the E3 zone from the NSW Government’s
Standard Instrument Local Environment Plan (SILEP). This
controversial zone, which was introduced by the Labor
government in 2006, duplicates a range of other legislative
requirements, providing no increased level of environmental
protection on private land.
Councillor Liz Innes, said: “The Minister is soon
to consider a revision of the SILEP following a study
of the use of environmental zones by northern NSW councils
in the development of their rural local environment plans.
This is a major opportunity for the Baird Government to
show leadership and act on the overwhelming weight of
the submissions they have received from the rural communities
comprehensive study, undertaken by consultants Parsons
Brinckerhoff, demonstrates clearly the practical difficulties
for councils in applying the four environmental (E1,E2,
E3 and E4) zones which are inadequately specified in the
study documents the same issues feared by many local farmers
as the consequences of the application of the E3 zone
to private agricultural land in Eurobodalla shire. It
is apparent that past proposals in Eurobodalla made much
greater use of E3 zoning than were made by those councils
included in the study. We are delighted that the study’s
findings vindicate the concerted action taken by the Eurobodalla
farming community to stop the over regulation of the use
of private land.”
Innes concluded, “Eurobodalla land owners have made
their opposition to the use of E3 based on inaccurate
mapping very clear to the council’s rural land strategy
committee. E3 zoning is unnecessary and it simply reduces
the value of their properties and rural businesses. Land
owners need now to repeat their past objections to the
circumstances the new Minister must remove E3 from the
Councillor Liz Innes
Mar 19, 2014
COUNCILLOR LESLIGHT RESPONDS
You have taken
me to task for withdrawing my three sea level rise motions
to amend council’s interim sea level rise policy
at last Tuesday’s council meeting and proposing
the alternative of an informed discussion with the community
at a public workshop. (Editorial, Bay Post, 14 March).
I did so,
not to play political games, but because I was persuaded
by my colleagues that the motions were premature. They
believed that, if the interim policy is to be changed,
greater community understanding of the sea level rise
issue and council’s policy is required. Also, they
were concerned that the ERA’s opponents would move
to keep faults in the design of the policy and the economic
and social implications of these faults away from community
A public workshop,
with invited technical experts, is one way to engage the
SLR policy, which is based on very high future sea level
rise estimates imposed on councils by the last NSW labor
government, is costing ratepayers much more than is necessary.
These extra costs arise because the last council chose
to impose restrictions on a wider area than was done by
other coastal councils operating under the same directive.
And no assessment of the impact of this wide application
was done at that time.
council’s inflexible administration of the policy
by, for example, not allowing consultants reports to be
used for similar adjacent land, adds to costs.
council’s practice of not notifying land owners
of the changes to the hazard warning notifications required
by law is insensitive and unjust.
are years away from a final policy these faults in the
interim policy need to be fixed now. Otherwise, uncertainty
will continue to be reflected in higher development costs
and affected property resale markets will remain in the
responsibility for SLR policy to councils, the NSW government
has invited the use of local “evidence” based
data and shorter time horizons for future projections.
Andrew Constance, the member for Bega, last week urged
council to take up this opportunity.
and most reliable set of past land based sea level rise
data available in NSW (measured at Fort Denison) was ignored
by council staff last time around. We need to know why.
Let me assure
you that there is “hope for the owners of properties
identified at risk of sea level rise that the issue will
be addressed with common sense. “ Consistent with
the ERA objectives of better, more transparent governance
and management at council, ERA councillors will actively
pursue improvements to the interim SLR policy and their
understanding and support in the community.
This task is
made easier by the Bay Post’s interest in desirable
change at council.
RATEPAYERS ASSOCIATION NEWSLETTER
ERA committee wishes all ERA associate members and supporters
a happy new year. Last year turned out to be a very busy
year at Eurobodalla Shire Council and for the ERA. Much
of the groundwork for much better performance by council
was done. This year promises further positive change to
the benefit of the community of Eurobodalla Shire.
This is the first newsletter for some time. The committee
apologises for this. To keep in better touch we will attempt
to increase newsletter frequency this year. Important
changes in governance and management at ESC are discussed
below, as are other matters currently concerning ratepayers.
are the mayor’s priorities?
Shortly after his election in September 2012 Mayor Brown
told the ERA that his priorities were recruiting a replacement
for Paul Anderson, reviewing the council’s administrative
policies and getting through to Xmas. When these housekeeping
tasks were completed in the middle of last year he announced
that it was now time for council to do “something
Six months on, we have yet to see any elaboration of this
suggestion. Consequently, ERA councillors had to fill
this leadership vacuum by arranging a meeting with their
colleagues to work out the council’s direction.
The outcomes of this meeting are discussed below.
It is mayor’s first responsibility to lead the council
in providing strategic direction to the council staff
on the community’s priorities. While he has thrown
himself into his public civic duties Councillor Brown
appears little interested in this aspect of his job. If
the mayor is to gain community respect for his leadership
he needs to be much clearer, committed and energetic in
defining and pursuing the interests of the community and
promoting these in political forums outside the shire.
have ERA councillors achieved?
In September last year, council replaced Councillor Peter
Schwarz with Councillor Neil Burnside as deputy mayor.
Schwarz described his time as deputy mayor as follows:
“It has been a busy year for ERA councillors
with major results already achieved for the community.
By working as a team, we have succeeded in stopping the
hemorrhaging of the community’s rates, recruited
a new general manager and realigned the priorities of
council to focus them on economic and infrastructure development.
I am particularly pleased that, following our insistence
on closer scrutiny of all expenditures, council’s
actual operational costs for FY2012/2013 were $3.5m less
than were budgeted last year. Moreover, capital grants
received this year were greater than the level expected.
While council is still running an operational deficit
over the next few years, it is now planned to be about
half the size of that bequeathed to it by the previous
There has been equally pleasing progress on the management
front. All councillors have now agreed to a single set
of priorities for this term. These were proposed by ERA
councillors in line with its platform of getting the shire
moving through much better governance and management.
They focus on increased infrastructure development in
Batemans Bay, Moruya and Narooma and management improvements
within council itself.”
the mayor’s detachment and the hostility of some
councillors to the ERA’s place in council, the ERA
committee is satisfied with the results achieved to date
and thanks all councillors for their hard work. The introduction
of zero based budgeting played a large part in the improved
budgetary position. For the first time in many years,
the community can be confident that some of their elected
representatives are closely directing council priorities
changes at council
After Paul Anderson walked out of his newly negotiated
five year contract in January 2012 he was temporarily
replaced by Rob Noble, a locum general manager from Queensland.
Mr Noble, who had extensive experience in local government
but little knowledge of Eurobodalla, kept the seat warm
and collected a large salary and expenses. During his
time here he had to handle a sudden change of management
at the Batemans Bay Beach Resort. He commented that in
his long time in local government he had not seen anything
like the problem he had to resolve. Unfortunately, he
neither provided ratepayers with details of what was done
at this publicly owned commercial enterprise nor any forecast
of the impact of the problem on the Resort’s marginal
a competitive recruitment process, Dr Catherine Dale was
appointed as new general manager and commenced work at
Moruya in April. She lost no time in consulting extensively
with council staff and community groups, including the
ERA. While she arrived too late to have much influence
on council’s budget and operational plans, she moved
quickly to sort out her senior management team. By letting
Kerrie Foster go and having the next line of managers
(Kathy Arthur - Community, Arts and Recreation Services,
Anthony O’Reilly – Finance and Catherine Reilly
– Communications and Tourism) report directly to
her she demolished the structure proposed by Anderson
and endorsed by Blackadder Consultants (four, then three,
directors). Importantly, she put the two remaining directors
(Warren Sharpe – Infrastructure Services and Lindsay
Usher – Planning and Infrastructure Services) on
fixed term, performance based contracts. This latter move,
long resisted by the previous general manager, brings
ESC into line with most other state agencies and implements
a long standing ERA proposal to increase senior management
ERA welcomes these senior staff changes, but notes that
they were made ahead of any comprehensive review of the
type and level of services council needs to deliver and
the community can afford. Dr Dale is conducting a review
of services, but at a very slow pace and with minimal
community consultation so far. She needs to advise the
community of the principles she is bringing to the review,
particularly as they apply to the continuing provision
of non core services.
the mayor, the general manager has spelled out the priority
management areas she intends to pursue. These are financial
sustainability, community relations and communications,
organisation culture, land use planning, economic development
and risk management. ERA welcomes her approach, which
is aligned with ERA priorities. In particular the community
is crying out for a more focused and professional approach
to economic development.
group of councillors is negotiating a performance agreement
with her. Let’s hope the outcome is a small number
of practical objectives which have associated measurable
indicators which are made public. No one wants a return
to the unsatisfactory and secretive arrangements between
the mayor and general manager which characterised the
last two councils.
Review of Local Government
The independent panel’s final report has been provided
to the NSW Government. It can be accessed at this
Many of the management reforms advocated by the ERA have
been proposed and let’s hope they are adopted. The
panel recognized that the old local government model of
general managers dominating disengaged and submissive
elected representatives no longer meets community needs.
are particularly pleased that the panel has recommended
to the Government that :
“contracts of General Managers should not be
renewed within 6 months of an election except by means
of a full merit selection process………”.
You will recall that ERA publicly opposed the uncontested
extension of Paul Anderson’s contract by Fergus
Thomson so close to the September 2012 election. Ultimately
Anderson’s early departure and the strong field
of candidates attracted to the subsequent advertising
of the position supported our stand on this matter. To
avoid such sweet heart arrangements in future we urge
the council to adopt immediately the panel’s proposal
much public protest the panel has changed its earlier
structural recommendation that regional county councils
should be formed to take over some of the most important
functions of councils. In Eurobodalla’s case the
Nowra based county council suggested covered Shoalhaven,
Eurobodalla and Bega Valley shires. This grouping of councils
was out of line with the existing South East Regional
Organisation of Councils (SEROC), which better reflects
the economic and social ties in the region.
The new proposal is that regional joint organizations
are formed, with similar core functions to those proposed
for regional county councils. The recommended joint organization
comprises Shoalhaven, Eurobodalla, Bega Valley, Bombala,
Snowy River, Cooma-Monaro, Palerang and Queanbeyan. There
is no regional centre nominated. This new grouping of
councils is also out of line with SEROC and ESC will need
to evaluate its merits carefully. Moreover, some of the
proposed core functions of the regional organizations
direct conflictly the philosophy of the planning legislation
reforms currently before the NSW parliament. In particular
the ability of local communities to participate in local
planning (ie development of DCPs and LEPs) will be greatly
diminished if this function is taken over by a large and
remote regional organization.
a forced amalgamation, Mayor Brown told ERA that he expected
to be the last mayor of Eurobodalla. While the threat
of amalgamation appears to have passed it is not apparent
to the ERA that the mayor is ready for the political argy
bargy that will inevitably accompany the formation of
the legislated regional joint organizations. He needs
to discuss urgently the shire’s interests in any
new joint arrangements with the community so he can protect
them in these important negotiations.
ERA councillors and social issues
ERA councillors are required occasionally vote on social
issues when they are come up at council. Often these matters
are raised by small community groups with strongly held
views. Sometimes they are opposed by groups with equally
strongly held views. Generally, they are on subjects which
are strictly outside the responsibilities of local government.
Recently same sex marriage, unhealthy soft drinks and
recreational hunting in state forests have arisen. There
has been some discussion in the community as to how ERA
should handle these types of issues.
ERA’s priorities are the reform of governance and
management at ESC. A key part of this is better responsiveness
to community concerns, whatever they may be. To achieve
this we ran a diverse group of people as candidates at
the 2012 election to ensure that the composition of council
was representative of the community. About 40% of the
voting community elected four ERA councillors, all competent
and experienced people from a diverse range of occupations
and parts of the shire.
The ERA councillors and ERA committee members do not hold
uniform views on social issues and we have not developed
social policies. However, councillors have all demonstrated
a willingness to listen to the concerns raised by community
members and to vote on what they see as the merits of
these concerns. Moreover, individual ERA councillors may
take a leadership position on a particular social issue,
as Councillor Schwarz did on the availability soft drinks
at council functions, and seek to persuade his colleagues
of the merits of his arguments. In all cases, the over-riding
consideration should be that community members are free
to get on with their lives without interference from council,
provided that the activity proposed is legal and not costly
to other community members.
The way ahead
In the year ahead ERA councillors will continue to focus
on getting council’s financial position back into
shape. The long term financial plan needs particular attention
to ensure it contains realistic estimates of the costs
of those major projects required for the shire’s
future prosperity. Additionally they will focus on completing
the rural aspects of ELEP 2012 completed, producing a
Coastal Zone Management Plan to manage sea level rise
cost effectively and getting business and government investment
moving again in the shire. Also, they will seek improvements
to grant application, contract management and building
is only when council gets on top of these problems will
ERA councillors be satisfied they have demonstrated the
improvements in trust and competence the community elected
For practical reasons the Eurobodalla Ratepayers Association
and the Eurobodalla Ratepayers Action Party have been
merged and all ERA activities are now under the direction
a single committee.
councillors can be contacted as follows:
Neil Burnside : Mobile 0418156389 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Peter Schwarz: Mobile 0418466471 Email email@example.com
Liz Innes: Mobile 0418193518 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Milton Leslight: Mobile 0418491264 Email email@example.com
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