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Dear Sir,

Re: TRC’s Proposed Continuation of the “Secret Society”. What perfect “extra and opportunistic” timing has been granted to provide and provoke some serious discussion and questioning of potential Local Government candidates – be they present incumbents seeking reelection or others throwing their hats in the ring – for the forthcoming Tamworth Regional Council election.
As reported in the Northern Daily Leaders front page article (14th July 2021) titled “No Record” TRC., has vetoed a proposal for councillors and staff to register their dealings/discussions with developers; presumably this includes business’s both new and existing.
As reported, at this stage in time, there may well be no legal requirements to disclose such information, but, and it is a “BIG BUT” a report released by the NSW., Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) on 22nd June 2021 recommends, to the NSW State Government, that quote “legislation be amended to better manage lobbying in the State including the prohibition of secret communications or meetings between lobbyists and government officials,” unquote. This ICAC report also includes the recommendation that, based on an analysis of complaints and investigations conducted by ICAC (Operation Dasha), the provisions of the “Lobbying of Government Officials Act” – the LOGO Act – be extended to apply to local governments.
Currently there are two major projects underway within the Tamworth region – Namoi River Crossing at Manilla and the Intermodal Transport Hub in west Tamworth – both of which were promulgated and approved by our present incumbent councillors, albeit with a negligible lack of consultation and inclusion from TRC ratepayers! In the former’s case, the ONLY public meeting – which was grossly unprofessionally conducted was told where the bridge would be located and there would be no alternative/ s discussed.
With the latter, many questions remain unanswered including a distinct lack of appropriate operational budgeting and initial capital funding disclosure for such an optimistic and very questionably located “off mainline” rail-hub!
Yet again, there now appears to be another TRC., thought bubble with the potential to cause major consequential disruption to the Namoi river, source of Manilla town’s water supply, along with serious concerns for those Upper Namoi farmers relying on the river for their livestock and irrigation enterprises.
Given some incumbent councillors’ belief that their definition of adequacy and depth of public communication has been more than sufficient, maybe they need to open their minds considerably to their role and responsibilities and reconsider how well they have performed as representatives of the electorate. Another question they may need to ask themselves is who do they think they are representing?
In conclusion therefore, the ratepayers of the electorate should be asking the candidates for the forthcoming TRC., local government election the main question – among several others of course – of “how soon after being elected into office will they endorse and enact this very necessary register of transparency?”
Alternatively, are they in favour of continuing to pull the wool – or should that be feathers! – over the eyes of the electorate? Perception may sound good in theory, but honesty is more truthful.
Best regards:
A. Allan,