- Protect our land and water from mining.
- Honesty and integrity in politics
- Local jobs
- People before profits
- Improved heath and education services.



Sunday, 9 September 2012

Residents beware - this next crop of councillors can vote to rezone their own land


Date: Wed, 5 Sep 2012 12:22:17 +1000
Subject: [Greens-Media]


Changes made to the Local Government Act by the O'Farrell government earlier this year give the current crop of council candidates a unique, and troubling, new potential power - if elected they can vote to rezone their own land.

Greens MP and Local Government Spokesperson, David Shoebridge said:

"This law allows large land owners and property developers in NSW to run
for local office so that they can use their own vote to increase the value
of their land holdings.

"The incoming crop of councillors will be able to vote on planning
proposals, including changes to local environment plans, development
control plans and other broad planning matters, that impact on land that
they own, opening the door to wide-scale and legal corruption at a local
level.

"This law allows local councillors to vote on planning proposals even where
they have a direct pecuniary interest.

"Gone are the days when property developers had to buy off local
councillors to get their land rezoned, now they can get elected and do the
job themselves.

"In council elections where the large scale property holdings of certain
candidates is in issue, this law change takes on particular significance.

"As every voter knows there is no effective mechanism to hold any elected
councillor to bare promises they make about their behaviour once elected.

"Residents need to have their eyes open to these new, and unprincipled,
powers that the NSW government has given local councillors when they are
voting this Saturday," Mr Shoebridge said.

What's at Stake? This new law will allow:

 * Councillors who own shops in commercial precincts, or other land
   holdings, to increase the FSR on that land and thereby greatly
   increase its development potential and substantially increase its
   value.

 * Rural and regional councillors, particularly in growing towns
   such as Dubbo, Orange, Albury, Wagga Wagga and the like, to vote to
   rezone land they own on the outskirts of town from 'rural' to
   'industrial' or 'residential' and reap potentially very, very large
   personal profits.

 * Councillors who own commercial or industrial land to vote to, for
   example, water down contribution requirements in Council wide parking
   Development Control Plans where there is a change of use, (such as
   changing from low off street parking use of industrial to higher of
   commercial) thereby delivering them hundreds of thousands of dollars
   in savings if they change from a less to a more intense use;

 * It will also encourage property owners and property developers to
   put up their hand to run for Council in September knowing that, if
   elected, they can vote to improve the development yield on their own
   land and personally enrich themselves.  In other words it is an
   invitation to carpet baggers to run for Council.

Media Contact: David Shoebridge on 0408 113 952

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