News

Letter to the Editor

by
April 13, 2018

Massive power to councils

IF YOU missed the chance to be part of Campaspe’s ‘community engagement framework’ at the drop in session in Ky last month and you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’re not alone.

Council has developed documents to improve communication between council and the community with the focus of this ‘engagement’ shifting from the individual to the collective as council will be working with ‘identified groups of people’.

At the February council meeting, councillors voted the proposed policy, framework and toolkit be made available for community comment.

Communication is what spins our wheels. We all learnt that right from babyhood.

Of immediate concern is what is included in the Victorian Local Government Act 2018 because of the transfer of a massive amount of state power to local councils.

It’s been kept pretty quiet but that shift will affect all of us greatly.

Councils will become ‘authorities’ in their own right with the power to make local laws on any matter for which the council has a function or power.

So if we don’t start following council’s actions more closely we could — for example — find council may have compulsorily acquired our land as they could deem it to be required.

We might trust our current councillors to represent our wishes but any say they may have is being eroded along with our democratic rights.

Communication also beams the spotlight on Australian values.

Power and greed have taken over from fair sportsmanship. The latest group are just part of a long list of contrite people caught out for serious offences in an effort to win at all costs — and be handsomely paid for it.

And then there is the ongoing saga of ‘snouts in the trough’ politics and many other transgressions that gives an advantage to a few but disadvantages many others.

And the royal commission into the banking industry misconduct with its element of the Banksia farce and the drip feed of what we are allowed to know and nothing more.

The golden glow of the ‘Aussie values’ we valued so much is fast becoming tarnished by the myth of equality and a fair go for all.

Australia’s becoming one of the world’s most unequal societies. Inequality affects outcomes for the poorer half of the population and we’re not immune to it.

Once people in communities like ours had similar views and shared similar values despite the class distinction.

The majority volunteered their efforts to build the future of the township which we now enjoy.

Now, as a more self-absorbed society, we are less inclined to ‘work’ for the benefit of the total community.

It’s the same faces at the many meetings and functions trying to carry the load.

We have our share of people who outwardly appear ‘comfortable’ but consider themselves ‘battlers’ and feel entitled to every tax break and government handout they can muster.

From their perspective governments and councils are there to take over their lives because they pay rates and taxes but they are ignorant of the consequences if we all continue to abdicate being responsible for our own lives.

Family violence, housing, drugs, mental illness, vandalism, school factors — the list of community problems seems endless but until we all try and do something about the causes of these problems any ‘solutions’ are just guesswork.

These few examples reflect our lack of values.

We’re all part of a society where the people representing us and working for us mirror our lack of empathy, respect and the much espoused fairness when the actions that are being taken are accepted as being what we want as we don’t do anything about them.

As thinking individuals it’s time for us to take a good hard look at what is happening in our town, our shire, our state and our country because we are part of the problem.

Mary Bowman,

KDRRADG president

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