Greens policy aims to get council and community together

1 June 2012

Newcastle Greens today launched their Local Democracy, Collaborative Leadership and Open Government Policy for the September Newcastle Council election, pushing for Newcastle Council to adopt a Local Democracy Policy aimed at making the council more open, responsive and community-oriented.

“Our policy aims to get the community and the council back together, working collaboratively and productively on the big challenges that Newcastle faces,” The Greens candidate for Newcastle Lord Mayor and Ward 4, John Sutton, said.

The policy proposes a revitalised community forums system, an end to secret councillor-staff workshops, and a range of other initiatives aimed at breaking down the barriers between the community and the council and reforming its organisational culture.

“This is our first policy release for the September Newcastle Council election, and underlines how important we think these issues are for the Newcastle community and for the new council that will be elected in September,” Mr Sutton said.

“We see local democracy as core business for Newcastle Council, and we know that many residents throughout the Newcastle local government area also care about this, and want a council that will work more closely with the community.

“The current council term has been a bleak period for local democracy, under the dominant anti-community conservative bloc.

“Early in the term, they axed the former community forums system that helped people in local communities come together to share information on what was happening in their area, and to discuss local issues.

“More recently, these same councillors also gave silent consent when the council administration told them that in future neither they nor the community would be consulted about the removal of major assets – such as significant trees – on the grounds of risk.

“This week’s $250,000 Scott St loo affair is just the latest demonstration that the administrative tail is now wagging the elected dog, and that the whole council needs a complete shift in organisational culture to bring back genuine local democracy in Newcastle.

“Over the next few months, we’ll be releasing further policies outlining some of our ideas about how the council to be elected in September can work with the community to meet the key environmental, social and economic challenges that Newcastle faces,” Mr Sutton said.

For more information or comment contact: John Sutton (Greens candidate for Newcastle Lord Mayor and Ward 4), on 0411 154 004.

Copies of this policy can also be downloaded from the Newcastle Greens website here

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