Agenda of September Meeting of Port Adelaide Enfield Council
I still remember the first time I heard Sting, the lead singer of The Police (the band, not the force), belt out Roxanne – the vocals jarred on the nerves and forced you to listen to the lyrics, which I find for much modern music is the last thing one wants to do.
But Roxanne’s lyrics are important – the song is about a man who falls in love with a prostitute – and thus as a twelve year old I worked out what the song was about and what those ladies who walked the streets were doing…
Which takes me to the September meeting of Council, where the most controversial topic is Cr Iammarrone’s Notice of Motion on the Lensink Private Member’s Bill on Prostitution. More on that later.
So, here we go again on my trip through Council’s September Meeting Agenda and the items I believe most relevant to Northfield Ward:
ITEM 12.1.1 COUNCIL GRANT PROGRAMS
I moved that Council review its grant programs earlier in the year as I felt our programs were not meeting community expectations as many were small project focussed and not on a long term goals or projects to benefit the wider community.
This process has begun and we should have a new regime in place for the new financial year. Of course in depth public consultation will be a part of this process.
12.1.6 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
I moved that Council look at this earlier this year as well. This report outlines what government and its agencies, as well as local groups, currently do, and Council does have some minor program involvement in preventing this scourge.
The report by Council staff is excellent and deserves reading by anyone with an interest in the subject.
However, I am disappointed that Council did not apply for Federal Government grant for domestic violence programs that were available this year. I am waiting to hear why.
ITEM 12.2.3 PARKING CONTROL – FLORIEDALE ROAD, GREENACRES
Council is intending to put in a No Parking Zone adjacent the current Community Bus site on Floriedale Road, Greenacres, next to the Greenacres Shopping Centre.
ITEM 12.2.9 JAMES RESERVE & FJ GARRAD RESERVE, NORTHFIELD
I moved back in July that Council suspend action on improving James Reserve in Northfield (north of Grand Junction Road) until the current Northfield DPA was completed as it may have considerable impact on that reserve and its surroundings.
Council agreed to this, and to my suggestion that the relatively tired looking FJ Garrad Reserve in Northfield (West Avenue) be upgraded by starting with the $66,000 we had saved on the James Reserve, in this financial year.
Consultation with local residents as to what they would like to see on the FJ Garrad Reserve, also my idea, will be undertaken shortly.
ITEM 12.3.5 BOUNDARY ADJUSTMENT REFORM DISCUSSION PAPER
Council’s response to an LGA Discussion Paper on boundary changes is to create a two tier system so that smaller boundary adjustments are carried out between the Councils concerned and the Local Government Minister rather than using a Government Panel.
This is interesting as 1) there is no panel any more, the Government abolished it so if there is any Council boundary changes in the future, there is confusion as to how it will occur; and 2) Council staff in their report make mention of tidying up some of the Council boundary anomalies in the area. This is news to me – stay tuned to what that could mean if you are living on the Council boundary in areas such as Valley View!
ITEM 14.2 NOTICE OF MOTION – RECYCLING IN OUR COMMUNITY – CR BOAN
Cr Boan would like a report on how to increase recycling in the community which includes looking at a weekly recycling collection and an increase in the materials to be picked up.
This is well worth a look as waste management technology is improving all the time and there is a concerted push by many residents for a weekly recycling collection.
ITEM 14.3 NOTICE OF MOTION – STATUTES AMENDMENT (DECRIMINALISATION OF SEX WORK) BILL – CR IAMMARRONE
As I said at the top of this post, I am sure this issue will garner more controversy than any other, and media coverage, yet it doesn’t deserve it.
The Bill, by Liberal MLC, the Hon Michelle Lensink, is riddled with flaws which would take too long to explain here, but substantially her Bill would make Councils responsible for dealing with sex work and absolves the State Government of all responsibility (I should add that that does not mean the current State Government supports this Bill).
One of the problems is that the sex industry wants to have it both ways.
They want to operate as a legal industry, but don’t want anyone to regulate them. Well, sorry, that will cause problems for people outside the sex industry so that is hardly a great idea.
The State Government (both flavours) want to dump as much work on Councils as possible, with less resources to boot. I don’t see people clogging the streets protesting that they want Councils to regulate prostitution, and Councils are amongst those I can promise you.
As it is another problem is that the Police have more important things to do than ping prostitutes and their customers – heck, they even advertise in the Yellow Pages – how brazen can you be – yet, street prostitution DOES cause many problems in our Council area – I used to work in Wingfield and the activities used to take place in our work car park. I put a stop to that with the aid of a forklift one morning.
It is not a secret that many of those in the sex industry work for Outlaw Motor Cycle Gangs or other criminal organisations. Only the Police have the training, equipment and jurisdiction to deal with these people, yet Lensink want to take the Police out of the equation. Yikes!
Council back in 2008 voted unanimously that we supported the legalisation of prostitution. It didn’t rate a mention in the media at the time, I seem to recall.
The problem is that every prostitution decriminalisation bill that comes up seems to satisfy the sex industry whilst creating problems for everyone else.
If we could have a Bill that banned street walkers and only allowed brothels in denoted industrial areas, and that SA Health registered brothels for a fee, and regulated them, I am sure the current issues would substantially be eradicated, but I doubt that will happen.
The link to the Bill is here: http://www.legislation.sa.gov.au/LZ/B/CURRENT/STATUTES%20AMENDMENT%20(DECRIMINALISATION%20OF%20SEX%20WORK)%20BILL%202015_HON%20MICHELLE%20LENSINK%20MLC/B_AS%20INTRODUCED%20IN%20LC/STATUTES%20SEX%20WORK%20BILL%202015.UN.PDF
So, we are here and we will have to oppose another badly worded, virtually consultation free prostitution decriminalisation bill.
But, it does remind me – back in the 90s I used to stay with a friend of mine when visiting a major capital city interstate and he told me the following – an advisor to the Premier rushed up to the Premier one day and said, “Mr Premier, what are we going to do with the Prostitution Bill?” The Premier didn’t even look up from his desk and replied, “Just pay it”.
ITEM 14.4 NOTICE OF MOTION – DEVELOPMENT APPLICATIONS – COMMUNITY CONSULTATION PROCESSES – CR HOGAN
From the wording of the motion it appears Cr Hogan’s constituents in Semaphore Ward may have had issues with the community consultation (or lack of it) in regard to a development application in that area, and she is seeking “strategies Council can use for development applications that do meet community consultation expectations”.
Well, unfortunately for Cr Hogan and her constituents, I can answer that one now in a paragraph and they won’t like the answer.
All development applications are handled as per the Development Act 1993, and Council has to abide by that legislation and its regulations. As part of this legislation, relevant public consultation guidelines are laid out for each category of development application, which is decided by Council staff using criteria in the Act. These Categories are 1, 2 and 3. For Category 1, no consultation is to be done. For Category 2 and 3 not only are adjacent neighbours advised, but there is also an ad in the Public Notices of the local Messenger and The Advertiser and anyone in SA is able to lodge a representation in response to the application. For Cat 2 developments there is no right of appeal to Council’s (or the Development Assessment Panel’s) decision, whereas for Cat 3 an appeal can be lodged by a ‘losing’ applicant or ‘losing’ representor. To change the above legislation requires changes by Parliament, Council cannot do that.
Hope that helps.
ITEM 14.5 NOTICE OF MOTION – WHITE RIBBON ADVOCATE – CR HOGAN
Cr Hogan would like to investigate Council becoming a White Ribbon advocate. I think this is a fine idea. I am waiting for the howls of protest about ‘this is not a Council matter’, from those who use this as a crutch when they oppose something, yet don’t when it is something with which they agree.
ITEM 14.6 NOTICE OF MOTION – INFRASTRUCTURE – CR BASHAM
My NOM is to for Council to have a workshop to look at major infrastructure projects we can undertake soon by using loan borrowings in order to generate local economic activity and improve our assets base.
Interest rates are at historic lows, and local government can borrow at ridiculously low rates at a FIXED rate for part of the loan as well. As a Council, our loan borrowings are less than $9M and we could pay them off tomorrow if we chose. We are one of the most financially safe and well off Councils in Adelaide and SA, if not Australia.
To give you an idea, to compare our level of borrowings with a mortgage; it would be like someone whose household income is $100,000 per year owing $9,700 on their mortgage, and paying $2,700 per year off it as well.
When you’re in that situation, you’d be fairly secure financially – less than 1% of our income is paying off loan interest where local government standard recommendation is no more than 10%.
So, we come to the situation where we know we need some infrastructure to be replaced, we know we have needs unmet in the community and we know there is a huge downturn in the local civil engineering and building industry.
I see here an opportunity not only to help stimulate our local economy and employment but replace some infrastructure that needs replacing and build some community assets that the local community have been screaming for – on carefully targetted loan borrowings.
I am not suggesting the amount we should borrow – we need to decided what projects are urgent and what can be undertaken later – we need a strategic look at this, but knowing we have the ability to borrow.
My plan is to start for next financial year, or earlier, so we can take advantage of interest rates and help the economy as soon as we can.
What do you think?
If you want to read the full agenda, you can download it here:
I notice that Council staff are now tweeting the link to Council’s agenda, which is a good thing, but of course they cannot comment on it like I can.
Or you, so let me know what you think!