Hon. Michael Baird,
Sydney, NSW, 2000.
18 August, 2014
The Glebe Society is a community organisation first formed in 1969 to protect Glebe’s heritage, environment and community from what is universally recognised now as short sighted plans to build a motorway through Glebe. This is of more than historic interest, as Glebe is surely a case study in what could have happened if people had not risen up against the destruction of a virtually intact vernacular Victorian townscape. The Askin government did not consult with the community; indeed community was regarded as an economic externality.
Since the coalition’s election I have written several times to your predecessor reminding him of the Government’s commitment to restore value to community consultation.
Premier, the Bill to alter voting arrangements in the City of Sydney is in direct contravention of that commitment. It privileges business interests over community interests and is in effect a gerrymander that devalues residents’ votes. The Bill is fundamentally undemocratic. It is unclear how many businesses hold registration in the city, as many entities hold registration in the offices of CBD professional services firms. Further it cannot be predicted how many entities may in the future choose to register in the City of Sydney, if the Bill becomes law. What is clear is that each resident’s vote will be devalued by more than 50%.
I ask you to attend closely to proceedings in the Independent Commission against Corruption. As you do so, you will be struck by the potential for corruption and poor governance this Bill will unleash. I urge you to ensure that your coalition does not support this Bill but affirms that proper community representation is the bedrock of our democracy.