MR Michael Osborne condemns the latest NCCl workshops to be held under the council’s secret meeting policy.

Greens councillor Michael Osborne today condemned the latest Newcastle
council workshops to be held under the council’s secret meeting

Cr Osborne said he had been advised that two unadvertised
councillor-staff workshops scheduled tonight will discuss Newcastle’s
new standard Local Environmental Plan (LEP) and council’s 2030
Community Strategic Plan.

“These secret workshops demonstrate that the council is now
deliberately thumbing its nose at the public demand for more open and
accountable city governance,” Cr Osborne said.

“It’s hard to imagine two council policy issues in which the public
interest could be greater than the council’s long term community plan,
and the city’s primary legal planning instrument,” Cr Osborne said.

“Ironically, the planning and reporting legislation that mandates
council community strategic plans (such as the 2030 plan) is meant to
be based on maximum community participation.

“And both councillors and council staff know how much interest and
concern there is in the local community about the revised LEP.

“Information and discussion on these matters should not take place
behind doors locked to the community and the media.

“I know many people in the community who would be interested in what
both councillors and council staff would have to say about these
issues, and there is absolutely no excuse for depriving them of access
to this information.

“This is yet another abuse of council resources, and yet another act
of arrogance on the part of a council that drifts further from its
rhetorical claims of openness and transparency with every turn of the
key that locks the public and the media out of every secret workshop.”

contact Michael Osborne 0439442984

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