COUNCIL MERGERS ANNIVERSARY: PREMIER URGED TO BAN PROPERTY DEVELOPERS FROM COUNCIL

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The NSW Opposition has introduced legislation to ban property developers from seizing control of councils.

One year ago this week the NSW Government sacked councils, in an undemocratic decision which has since been criticised and, in some cases, overturned by the courts.

But twelve months on from forcing council mergers the Berejiklian Government is no closer to stopping property developers and real estate agents from controlling councils.

Opposition Leader Luke Foley is calling for developers to be banned from office saying its time the Premier introduced the local government integrity reforms that were actually needed.

Mr Foley is also calling for campaign spending caps to be introduced for everyone who runs for local council just as they apply for State elections.

With September’s local government elections rapidly approaching the Parliamentary window to pass any legislation is closing.

Mr Foley says the Government should urgently act to strengthen fundamental matters of integrity and support Labor’s bill which is currently before Parliament.

Quotes attributable to Opposition Leader Luke Foley

“Developers shouldn’t be sitting in judgement on developments at a local government level – the conflict of interest is just too great.

“Developers and real estate agents can currently spend as much as they like to capture control of a local council.

“This is a watershed issue for this Government. It needs to act and say it loud and clear – we’ll have spending caps for council elections.”

Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Local Government Peter Primrose

“The Liberal-National Government has made a dog’s breakfast out of the state’s local government legislation. This was an opportunity to start cleaning up council elections but it has been squandered.

“Our legislation is an opportunity for the Parliament to draw a line under the corruption and perceptions of corruption that has bedevilled local government in this State. Now the Liberals have a chance to fix it – or be found wanting.”