Media Release: Councils not privy to ‘secretive’ Bill on compulsory business voting in Local Government elections

13 August 2014
Not a single NSW council has been consulted on the ‘secretive’ Shooters and Fishers Party Bill, scheduled to be rushed through Parliament tomorrow, making business voting compulsory in Local Government elections. 
While the current Bill is solely aimed at the City of Sydney, Local Government NSW (LGNSW) is deeply concerned about the lack of transparency and non-existent consultation on the proposed legislation, and the potential for these new voting rules to be rolled out to all NSW councils. 
President of LGNSW, Cr Keith Rhoades AFSM, said he is outraged at the NSW Government’s support of this Bill, which has not been made public to the 152 NSW councils it may impact.
“Thanks to the Government’s chosen method of informing councils via the media on the new voting rules, we now have a situation where the entire Local Government sector in NSW is in the dark about the changes slated to go before Parliament.
“How can a government justify ramming through changes in Parliament without any consultation whatsoever with the industry set to be significantly impacted? 
“While the word ‘democracy’ has been bandied around in support of making business voting compulsory at Local Government elections, it appears a key component of democracy – transparency – is missing in this politically-motivated move by those parties involved.
“If the reforms in the Bill are fair and reasonable, then why has Local Government NSW and our member councils not been included in the process and why all the secrecy and haste in getting the Bill passed?
“These new rules have the potential to affect processes, procedures and results in some council areas across the state and yet the only detail we have been provided is what was announced in the media.
“In the spirit of democracy, I call on all parties involved in developing and supporting this Bill – the Shooters and Fishers Party and the Liberal/National coalition – to make the proposed legislation public and open for comment,” said President Rhoades.
NSW councils are encourage to contact their local State MP and the Minister for Local Government, the Hon Paul Toole MP, to seek the public release of the Bill and express their concerns about the non-existent consultation with NSW Local Government. 
Media Enquiries
Cr Keith Rhoades, AFSM     LGNSW President: 0408 256 405 
Laura Beattie                    Acting Media and Communications Manager: 0427 248 504