OpinionReaders' Letters

Warding off wards

Ross Smith is right to draw readers’ attention to important democratic legislative changes to how we vote and how councillors will vote in Sydney Council (“City of Sydney Act Amendments”, SSH August 2014).

He is incorrect, however, to assume these will be positive changes. Wards do not enhance local representation: they debauch it.

He reminds us we’ve had this system before under the former South Sydney Council.

We were glad to see it go for a number of reasons.

Councillors elected by wards are answerable to their ward, only. They have no interest in matters beyond their boundaries, unlike the current system where we can call on any and every councillor to assist us. And if your ward councillor is not part of the ruling council clique, expect nothing. And if they are, they’ll be voting along party lines regardless.

After all, their campaign was funded by their parties. Only parties who cannot gain a significant overall majority but who need to rely on smaller areas to get onto the council payroll ladder will benefit from wards. And they are ones we do not need.

Mr Smith’s claim the ward system gives councillors more time to better know their ward is a nonsense on stilts. Councillors can know their constituents’ interests by devoting more time to their public duties and attending community meetings.

Andrew Woodhouse

President, Potts Point and Kings Cross Heritage Conservation Society

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