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I would like to begin this Newsletter by wishing you all a happy, healthy and successful New Year.

However, our first Newsletter for 2011 brings the news that the Minister has refused our request for a Public Inquiry and Audit of the affairs of Eurobodalla Shire Council - click [here] for page 1 of the Minister's letter, and [here] for page 2.

Whilst refusing our request for an Inquiry, the Minister spelled out loudly and clearly to Councillors that: “Councillors as members of the governing body have a responsibility to review the performance of Council and its delivery of services. They also have a responsibility to listen and respond to the concerns of their constituents.” The ERA takes on board the Minister’s comments and will continue to press for improvement in Council’s performance and its response to community opinions and concerns.

In announcing her decision, the Minister commented: “While I have the power to call a Public Inquiry, this power is an option of last resort”.

The Eurobodalla Ratepayers Association made its submission to the Minister on 1st November, 2010, which included a list of critical grievances with a supporting Petition of 3,000 signatures. Since then, there have been further revelations of failures in basic rules of governance, in particular with regard to the “bonus” paid to the General Manager. The ERA also notes that not one of the Councillors acknowledged the 3,000 ratepayers who signed the Petition.

We are encouraged by the Minister’s advice that: “I can assure you that the situation at Council will continue to be monitored closely by the Division … “. The ERA will continue to pursue the problems and grievances expressed universally within the Shire regarding Council operations and the New Year will be a time of even greater activity and intent by the Association.

The time is now right to bring into focus the roles of Mayor and Councillors. Our 3,000 signature Petition has shown the community’s reaction to poor basic decision making. It is clear that the State Government needs to review and reform Local Government Policy – we question the wisdom of having a popularly elected Mayor for a 4-year term and must insist that Councillors carry out their duties and obligations as defined by the Local Government Act.

Our Association is looking seriously ahead to ensure that residents and ratepayers elect effective, knowledgeable and able people for the next Council term.

We have set a firm date for a General Meeting of all interested supporters at the Moruya Golf Club on Monday, 24 January, 2011 at 5.30 p.m.

Members of the existing Management Committee look forward to meeting you then.

Frank Milner,
Convenor - ERA


Work with us towards a better local government in our beautiful shire!