14 September 2017

From the Mayor's Desk

  • Around 80 people came along to the garden outside Hawkesbury City Council, Windsor on Tuesday, 12 September for the rainbow flag raising ceremony in support of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex and Asexual (LGBTQIA) community in the Hawkesbury and Marriage Equality.
    I was delighted to raise the flag outside the Council Chambers amid cheers and applause from the community members present. Council offers its full support to our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex and Asexual community and this rainbow flag will fly outside Council Chambers for the duration of the Marriage Equality campaign.
    Council is well placed to positively influence community perceptions to increase acceptance. Our civic leadership and support will hopefully send a strong message and help people in our community. A rainbow banner is also displayed outside Council which states ‘Hawkesbury City Council supports Marriage Equality. Vote Yes.’.
  • I also want to remind you that Council is calling for nominations for the 2017 Natalie Burton Memorial Award on behalf of the Burton, Turner and Lawrance families. Residents are encouraged to nominate any Hawkesbury high school student whom they feel is a worthy recipient for the prestigious Natalie Burton Memorial Award trophy and $200 prize money. Nominations close 5pm Monday, 25 September 2017.
    The award is open to male or female students and is not restricted to academic achievement; it may take the form of community, sporting or general achievements and improvements.
    Nomination forms are available online or at the Council Administration Building, 366 George Street, Windsor, or Hawkesbury Central Library at Windsor or Richmond Branch Library or by calling (02) 4560 4444.
  • Council is currently seeking Expressions of Interest (EOI) from members of the Hawkesbury community to act as community representatives on the Enhancing the Arts in the Hawkesbury Working Group. I encourage community members who have a genuine interest in the arts, with demonstrated expertise and experience in arts projects, to consider applying.
    The goal of the Working Group is broad but the initial focus of the working group will be around music sector growth and increased community participation in the arts.
    The Working Group will provide constructive advice and practical support and assistance to Council in enhancing the arts in the Hawkesbury, with a particular focus on seeking external funding, facilitating local arts activities and events as well as encouraging audience participation. The Working Group will consist of Councillors, Council staff and five community members.
    For more information or to obtain an Expression of Interest Form please visit www.hawkesbury.nsw.gov.au or contact Joanne Russo on (02) 4560 3354. EOIs close 5pm Friday, 29 September 2017.

Mayoral Column

As the Mayor of Hawkesbury, I am united with the Mayors of Blue Mountains, Penrith, Campbelltown and Liverpool against the new planning regulations by the State Government, which are anti-democratic.

The State Government recently passed legislation to introduce mandatory Independent Hearing and Assessment Panels (IHAPs), which will see local councils lose the power to determine development applications (DAs) between the value of $5 million and $30 million. The mandatory IHAPs will also decide any other ‘contentious’ DAs of lesser value. Applications under $5M will be dealt with under delegated authority to Council CEOs. Essentially, these changes will mean Councillors, and therefore the community through their elected members, will not have any input into determining DAs in their local area.

We have written to Anthony Roberts Minister for Planning, Gabrielle Upton Minister for Local Government and the NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley to urge a review of the process that led to the decision. Prior to the introduction of this legislation, there was no opportunity for debate or community consultation. This is a removal of the democratic process at a very basic level – denying community-elected representatives a say on deciding local development applications.

This is a disappointing and ill-informed reaction showing little regard for communities in NSW. I believe it is essential for the Hawkesbury community to retain a say in shaping the future of our towns, villages and suburbs. This can only happen when elected council representatives have a role in determining DAs in their own Local Government Areas. I encourage the NSW Government to focus on providing the infrastructure and services that our community needs, not shutting the community out of the decision making process.

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