While helping out John August with his local council campaign, I asked around a bit about local issues and talked to the various candidates; in the back of my mind, always pondering what Pirate should mean at the State and Local council levels.
First thing, there’s growth in big party involvement at the local Council level and it’s not great. I heard many people complaining how partisan things had become in Council, saying that it’s hard to get anything done, just because they don’t want to side with their opponents.
Council merging is encouraging this even further, because in larger councils you’re more likely to need a party machine to get elected. In Ryde, we had the spectacle of the Liberal party not giving preselection to incumbent candidates, causing them to fracture out into two new independent groups (the Independent Conservatives and some guy named Roy).
Everyone touted the same issue “over development”. High-rise buildings in suburbia are unpopular. Especially without adding infrastructure and community facilities development.
The Greens want to give rate discounts to households with solar panels. Since the council still needs the same income to perform it’s function, the effect would probably be to just transfer money from wealthy people who can afford solar panels, to poorer people in the same suburbs. So that’s crap.
The young preselected Liberal dude (Jordan something) claimed that just opening a new small business with a shop front, takes 18 months. He claims it’s because the local Council doesn’t cooperate with the state government that has an expedited 3 month process. This sounds suspiciously like a state control power bid.
So I’m looking at all this and thinking that the Pirate position should be towards smaller local councils with greater autonomy to create their own culture/community. Maybe treat State level as a way to pool resources and capability for greater efficiency, but with local direct decisions and community involvement. Some of our existing policy on libraries already take a stance like this.