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Southbank Residents Group

08 Oct 2015

With great concern I recently learnt that in the current review of the Local Government Act being undertaken by our current Labor Government that they are possibly considering amendments to who is entitled to be an elected representative – i.e. our councillors. Now that doesn’t sound so bad I hear you say, but it depends on what the changes are.

In the Local Government Act discussion paper under the heading “Councillor qualification framework: some different views” it states: “Non-Australian citizens (who can be property owners or occupiers) are entitled to enroll to vote but not to become councillors.”

Some would argue that maybe only citizens should be entitled to vote. While that is currently the status quo many are happy with that since we have a great number of non-citizens who reside or have business in the municipality. These people would say it is fair they can have a say in the makeup of the people who will have a direct impact on their immediate living or business environment.

But what if that was to change and non-Australian citizens were allowed to not only vote, but also hold elected positions and become our councillors?

The discussion paper goes on to say: “This is inconsistent with state and Commonwealth jurisdictions where all voters have the right to stand for election.”

So should I be reading this in such a way that the discussion paper is asking us to consider making a change to allow non-Australian citizens to also hold elected positions?

If so, then I am sorry but I draw the line there. I think anyone who wields any degree of power which can influence policies and decisions that affect our direct livability should be an Australian citizen.

The Premier’s paper is seeking discussion on local government reform. If you feel, like me, and that only Australian citizens should be councillors then you might like to contribute to the discussion paper and let the Premier know.

On another note, the Upmarket market on the ACCA forecourt on Sturt St continues to amaze me with the variety and quality of stalls. Get on down to the Upmarket on the first or third Saturday and show our local support to these vendors so we can assist with cementing the Upmarket’s future in Southbank. I am usually there manning our residents group table and chatting with locals, so while you are there also stop for a chat.

Finally, our AGM is scheduled for Wednesday, October 14 at 6pm at Boyd Community Hub. Please consider attending and showing your support for this fantastic community organisation.

If you feel you might have something you can offer our committee, please consider joining the committee. Alternatively you may not be a member yet and wish to show your support by joining.

If you are a past member, please remember that unless you are a current member then you will not be able to vote on the night.

If anyone would like to discuss membership or joining our committee, please make contact through our Facebook page – Southbankresidents or email: info@southbankresidents.com.au

Tony Penna - President

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