DECEMBER 2016 COUNCIL MEETING OUTCOMES
The December Council meeting pretty much went as I had expected, at least, in the items most relevant to Northfield Ward.
ITEM 12.3.2 RATES REBATES APPLICABLE TO VACANT LAND
This was approved with some debate that the proposal doesn’t go far enough. The result will be that if you own vacant land and start building a residence on it within the first 12 months of that ownership, you will not be charged the vacant land rate, upon application to Council.
I know of a few (very few) cases over the years where people could not start their build on vacant land within the first 12 months due to reasons outside of their control. This also happened to us, when we were in court with Homestead Homes, who we regretfully chose to build with.
The problem is to change the policy to rope in these rare cases as well starts to defeat the purpose of the policy, and so I think a case by case assessment would be a better way to go here. If you are aware of a case in this category, please contact me so I can chase it up for you.
Unfortunately, there is no legal way we can make this policy change retrospective, so if you were forced to pay the vacant land rates in 2015/16 or earlier, nothing can change that.
Anyway, I am celebrating another win here, a change of policy after 20 years of trying!
ITEM 12.3.3 COUNCIL PROCUREMENT POLICY REVIEW
In this debate, Cr Osborn added in a few additional lines, which were supported by the majority of Councillors, as can be seen in red below:
Legislative Compliance (Leadership)
All Procurements are to be undertaken so as to ensure compliance with legislative requirements, including, but not limited to, legislation applicable to:
Suppliers and their workers, including work health and safety law, equal opportunity law, employment law, occupational licensing and provisions for working with vulnerable persons; and Supplies, including Australian Standards.
The evaluation of Suppliers as part of a Procurement is to include Practice/Shared Values (Leadership, Community) consideration of:
the Supplier’s commitment to ethical practice, including, but not limited to, avoidance of cartel behaviour/abuse of market power, ethical sourcing of its own supplies and, as appropriate to the nature of the Supplier and the Supplies, compliance with United Nations declarations, covenants and treaties, International Labour Organization Conventions, and Social Accountability International Standard SA8000; and the extent to which the Supplier shares Council’s values (as set out in the City Plan 2030).
ITEM 12.3.6 CAMPAIGN DONATIONS RETURN – FEEDBACK SOUGHT
This was an odd debate.
We have a Local Government Minister, who though very experienced in Local Government, appears to be completely out of touch with the sector. I suspect that he is one of those Ministers who has his department do all the work for him, and I can promise you, they are also, apparently, completely out of touch with the sector. Anyway, on the heels of a comprehensive review of the Local Government (Elections) Act, out of his office came a previously completely unheralded idea.
The idea is that all candidates for Council must complete weekly donation returns during the election campaign to Council staff which includes how much they have had donated to them during the previous week.
I see no problem in this, apart from the sheer hypocrisy of this idea, being that the current State Government receives millions of dollars in donations which don’t need to be disclosed under state legislation.
So, I am happy if Local Government is leading the transparency charge, because, once again, we can show the public how we do things better, and this idea is hardly going to be an impost on anyone I would think: my weekly donation return during the last election would look like this: $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00.
In response to the argument that it would be too hard for candidates to keep up to date with weekly forms, my answer is: how on Earth are Council candidates going to keep up with all the work being a Councillor if they can’t fill out one simple form a week for about 6 weeks?
Yes, the idea has merit, and yes, the idea is also a bit of overkill, and I am sure there is a better compromise possible somewhere; but I was fascinated by the absolute passion of those speaking against this in the debate. Council ended up voting to write to the LGA, to oppose this. I voted against this.
One of the reasons raised in debate about why Council should oppose it was that it will discourage people from running for Council.
Discourage people? Last election there were a record 11 candidates in Enfield Ward, and a record 6 in Northfield Ward. I am sure the majority of those would also have completed this return if it had existed then the same as mine – $0.00 all round, and not one would have been discouraged by this law, if it had been in place.
Even if some people had needed to complete a return including a donation or two, how hard is that? A completely hypothetical one for example:
Week Ending Date: 13/10/2018
1.Acme Roadrunners Pty Ltd $500
2.Amalgamated Widgets Union $1500
The debate has made me curious as to who donated what to which candidates at the last Council election, so I shall be checking on that in January and reporting the outcome here, in the public interest.
Now, if you’re reading this, and wish to donate* to me for my next election campaign in 2018, please feel free to do so, however, knowing that whatever that amount is will be publicly declared by me for the world to see, whether this idea becomes law or not.
Anyway, what do YOU think of this?
* I reserve the right to decline the donation depending on the circumstances under which it is offered, and the potential donor, as per my ethics.
ITEM 12.3.36 ELECTOR REPRESENTATION REVIEW – PREPARATION OF FINAL REPORT
Council almost unanimously passed this report – where the key points (as reproduced below) will be sent to the Minister for Local Government.
Not one person felt the need to contact me, or Council, after a thorough second round of community consultation. Tends to show me there is not a problem.
The key points are:
• The Mayor for the City of Port Adelaide Enfield be elected by the electors for the area.
• The area be divided into seven (7) wards as depicted as Option 1 in the Representation Options Paper and presented in the Representation Review Report.
• The number of Councillors be seventeen (17) ward councillors and no area councillors.
• Council retains the current geographical ward names
In other words, no changes from the present, other than a small boundary change between Port Adelaide and Semaphore Wards.
NOTICE OF MOTION – DOG PARKS
Cr. Basham moved that Council resolves that sufficient funds be set aside in the 2017/2018 budget process to construct 3 dog parks across the City subject to the investigations into dog parks already occurring in the financial year.
Cr. Osborn seconded CARRIED.
After much work, I was successful a few years ago to have Council fund an investigation into installing 3 dog parks across the City.
Council now has 3 operational dog parks – LJ Lewis Reserve, as above (Northfield), Jack Watkins Reserve (Kilburn) and Roy Marten Reserve (Taperoo).
These are well patronised reserves, and much loved, but people in other area are also lobbying Councillors for dog parks closer to their homes.
To this end, I moved for another 3 dog parks to be looked at. Already there are significant numbers of residents asking for dog parks at Thomas Turner Reserve (Valley View) as part of our Masterplan community consultation , and TK Shutter Reserve (Klemzig), where Council is about to embark on a playground upgrade, and others are looking for one in the Port Adelaide Ward area.
NOTICE OF MOTION – BRIENS ROAD
Cr. Basham moved that Council resolves that a report be brought back to Council on:
1. The condition of the Council owned retaining walls on Briens Road, Northfield, and the most efficient way to replace or repair them, with sufficient funds to be considered in the 2017/2018 Council budget process subject to the outcomes of that report; and,
2. Sufficient money be set aside in the 2017/2018 budget process to pave the footpath on the eastern side of Briens Road, Northfield subject to work not interfering with any actions taken due to the report in part one of this motion.
Cr. Russell seconded CARRIED.