Open Government Reform Package For Newcastle City Council

Therese and Nuatali SigningAn open Lord Mayoral diary, open council briefings, and an internal council Ombudsman are among the key elements of a preference exchange agreement reached between The Greens and Labor for Newcastle’s Lord Mayoral election.

Releasing the agreement Greens Lord Mayoral candidate, Therese Doyle, said it was intended to help usher in a new era of open government and community engagement in Newcastle Council.

“I want to restore community confidence in the council and the office of Lord Mayor, and to establish systems that ensure the highest level of transparency, accountability and probity in our city’s governance,” Clr Doyle said.

“The city needs to put behind it the regime established after the election of Jeff McCloy in 2012, which created a closed, secretive organisational culture that locked out the community and frustrated the elected councillors who wanted to serve them.

“We don’t want a climate conducive to the kind of corruption we’ve seen revealed in the recent ICAC hearings.

“We’re releasing this agreement well before the election so voters have plenty of time to see for themselves the basis of our mutual preference recommendations.

“Newcastle’s Labor and Greens councillors are committed to this agreement, so Greens and Labor voters can be confident that if they follow their preferred party’s how-to-vote card and their most preferred candidate isn’t elected, their preferences will help elect a Lord Mayor who is committed to these important reforms,” Ms Doyle said.

“It’s important for Greens and Labor voters to use their preferences to ensure that the Liberal-Independent voting bloc formed by Jeff McCloy can no longer use their numbers to dictate what happens on our city’s governing body,” She said.

“There is a tangible desire in the Newcastle community for accountability to return to local government. Trust in decision makers is vital if we are to transition towards a vibrant, sustainable future where our City’s potential is realised and we get our fair share. We must be sure that elected representatives make decisions for the benefit of all the community, and not just a select few.” Cr Nelmes added.

For further information contact

Therese Doyle on 0434 257 892

AGREEMENT BELOW

Open Government Reform Package For Newcastle City Council

These reforms are intended to restore community confidence in the council and the office of Lord Mayor, and to establish systems that ensure the highest level of transparency, accountability and probity in our City’s governance.

Objective #1
Establish procedures that ensure the highest level of transparency, accountability and probity in our City’s governance

  1. Make all Councillor/staffworkshopsandbriefings open to the public, subject totheconfidentialityprovisionsoftheLocalGovernmentAct.
  2. Amend the CouncilCodeof ConductandCodeofMeetingPractice to remove unnecessary impedimentstocouncillorsperformingtheirdutiesas electedrepresentatives.
  3. The Lord Mayor, the General Manager and their staff will maintain an online, real-time open diary like those used by some NSW State MPs. This diary will record the times, participants and topics of discussions of any meetings in which they are involved with people not employed by council, including but not limited to development or project proponents, lobbyists, government agencies, other elected officials, and community groups.

Objective #2:

Restore community confidence and genuine consultation into Council’s practices.

  1. Establish anetworkofcouncil-supported,community-basedgroupsorcommitteeswhorepresenttheinterestsofresidentsinthelocalcommunities.
  2. Create anInternalCouncilOmbudsmanroletoindependentlyinvestigateandrespondtocomplaintsaboutcounciladministration.
  3. Provide increased opportunitiesforcommunitymembersandgroupstoaddresstheelectedcouncilatordinarycouncilmeetings,PublicVoicesessions,andsiteinspections,andremove unnecessaryvettingofaccesstothesechannelsof input.

Objective #3
Undertake procedural reform to include the community.

  1. Revitalise and expand Council’s committee system as a key structure for community and expert input into council decision-making.
  2. Implement a fortnightly council meeting cycle by interspersing ordinary Council meetings with meetings of strategic advisory committees.
  3. Ensure resident consultation before any decision to remove significant local assets, including significant trees.
  4. Improve communication methods with the community to ensure that all residents have an opportunity to be involved in their council e.g. improve Council’swebsite tomakeitfaster,moreaccessibleandeasiertouse andsearch.

We the undersigned, hereby agree that, if elected Lord Mayor of Newcastle on 15 November, will use our position and influence to implement the above.

Name                                                  Signature                                            Date                           

 

This entry was posted in 2014 By-Election, 2014 Lord Mayor, Local Democracy, Newcastle Council and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply