Today, it's been reported the Shooters Party wants the City of Sydney carved up to create a tiny CBD Council.
It's hard to see why a couple of elephant shooting cranks who attracted less than half a per cent of the city vote would have any say in what happens with the global city. Until you see their Facebook page (now deleted), where they called me, "one of the most gun-hating politicians anywhere in Australia."
But the Shooters have forced through shooting in national parks and the legislation that gave business two votes and residents just one - so this latest harebrained scheme has to be taken seriously.
The plan to divide the City of Sydney shows how out of touch the Shooters and Fishers are - while they want to take the city back to the '70s and '80s we're planning for the future. The city is currently undergoing a huge period of accelerated growth and investment. Based on current trends, $30 to $40 billion will be invested in development in our local government area over the next decade.
Contact the Premier, and the Local Government Minister, and let them know that you want the boundaries of the City of Sydney to remain as is.NSW Premier Mike Baird MP Email: email@example.com or via this form: https://www.nsw.gov.au/your-government/contact-premier-new-south-wales Phone: 02 9976 2773 Twitter: @mikebairdMP Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mikebairdMP Minister for Local Government Paul Toole MP Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 02 8574 7000 Twitter: @PaulTooleMP Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PaulTooleMP
The Sydney Chamber of Commerce has come out strongly against this proposal, describing it as "politics at its worst."
It's worth reading the comments from Executive Director of the Sydney Business Chamber, Patricia Forsythe, in full because they really cut to the heart of the issue:
The proposed legislation should be rejected by the NSW Government as it has nothing to do with improving the City of Sydney and everything to do with the agenda the Shooters first revealed with their dodgy two votes for business legislation last year.
The argument the Shooters are running, that reduced boundaries would encourage investment by business in the development of the CBD, ignores the fact that the private sector is showing confidence in the future of the city with billions of dollars' worth of investment including new hotels, commercial and residential buildings already approved or at application stage for the CBD.
The Sydney Business Chamber, and other business groups, advocate for fewer local councils across the Greater Sydney Region, so it would be illogical to propose or support, at the same time, shrinking the boundaries of the CBD.
The City of Sydney's submission to the NSW Government's Fit for the Future Inquiry, revealed a council that is providing services for business, big and small, and demonstrated its ability to manage major developments such as Green Square.
If it was broken we would argue for change, but the City of Sydney staff work closely with key business groups on projects that are in the interest of business.
It was regrettable that the NSW Government backed the specific changes to the business vote for the city, introduced by the Shooters, instead of putting up their own proposal and we would urge the Government to consult with business on this proposal.
Excising parts of the city and merging them with adjoining councils ignores the reality that in future years parts of the city that are predominantly residential will represent new commercial centres to support the CBD.
PricewaterhouseCoopers said the City of Sydney is a 'benchmark against which other councils could be compared.' The NSW Government's own Treasury Corporation (T-Corp) rates the City's finances as 'strong' with a 'positive outlook' - the only NSW council to receive this rating. There's just no sensible economic reasoning or business case for these massively disruptive proposals.
In 2013-2014, the City oversaw $3.95 billion of development, over four times more than the nearest council. Last year we determined 2,677 development applications and their modifications and have consistently been in the top 10 for development application assessment times while processing the highest value and some of the highest numbers of complex applications.
The last time the Liberals shrunk the city council boundaries, the council almost ended up bankrupt. Why risk that happening again when the City's booming? There's just no sensible economic reasoning or business case for these massively disruptive proposals.
If the Premier wants to work out what's best for the city, he should ask the people who live and work here - unlike the Shooters' Borsak, we did, and 80% of the City's residents and 70% of businesses said they like the City of Sydney the way it is.