Letter: Grasping the nettle

Manning River Times’ editorial of February 24, penned by Ainslee Dennis, does well to grasp the nettle and, rather than whinge about the sting of the forced council merger, it moves to the issue of healing our undemocratic condition.

Ms Dennis manages to do this without downplaying the rash that the forced merger has raised, including the perception, by some, that the current members of the local council’s powerless Local Representative Committee (LRC) are understudying future councillor positions.

An implicit but outstanding example of this was demonstrated by MidCoast Council itself when it justified ratepayer funded attendance of LRC members to the Local Government Association’s annual conference last year. 

It was reported in the Manning River Times last September that MidCoast Council confirmed it had paid the conference registration fee of $899 for each of the seven LRC members attending as well as their accommodation and travel expenses and that this was paid from a council budget “for councillors professional development”.

It is ironic that the expenditure was for the development of persons who were not even considered appropriate for representative consultation by the MidCoast Council administrator when the pre-Christmas rushed decision was made by him to adopt a recommendation to subsume our water and sewerage county council (MidCoast Water) into local council.

Ms Dennis’ clarion call to the community to raise potential candidates from among us is not only eloquent in style but premised on well accepted elements that characterise altruistic service to society:  dedication of time, a strong voice for constructive advocacy, leadership by example and abstinence from a self-serving profile.

I hope Ainslee Dennis hears her own clarion call and I look forward to seeing her stand as one of a number of intelligent candidates for our next council election. 

Nawal Maharaj


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