On Monday night Council formally resolved to oppose the Shooters and Fishers - City of Sydney Amendment (Elections) Bill 2014 and called on the NSW Government to withdraw support for their proposal.
The Shooters proposal has attracted a strong and negative reaction from the community. I have been inundated with responses from concerned people from around NSW. Many prominent individuals and groups including the Sydney Business Chamber have raised concerns about various aspects of the Bill.
Many people also wrote to the Government and it was brought to my attention that a letter being sent from the Premier's own Parliamentary Secretary, DavidElliottMP, about this issue contained incorrect information about the City of Sydney's finances and several statements which provided incomplete information.
The letter is misleading and Council also resolved to ask the Premier to correct the misinformation and write again to everyone who received the wrong information.
In his letter Mr Elliott claimed "that businesses contribute 78.5 per cent of the City of Sydney's revenue".
This is simply not true. Last year business rates contributed less than 32 per cent of the City of Sydney's total revenue.
The letter also states that "businesseshavetorepeattheapplicationprocessateachelectionbecausethenon-residentialrollisdeleted. No other Australian jurisdiction deletes the non-residential electoral roll after each election."
This is also incorrect. The Shooters and Fishers own Bill states that the non-residential roll will lapse after each election, as is the case across NSW and in the City of Melbourne where the non-residential roll lapses after each election.
And while the Parliamentary Secretary describes the JointStandingCommitteeonElectoralMattersoftheNSWParliament as bipartisan, the Labor Party has clearly said that Labor members of the Committee voted against theproposal. Labor MLC Amanda Fazio, a member of the Committee, has said:
"As a member of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters I can say that this recommendation was opposed by Labor and the only support for this proposal came from the Liberal Party and the Business Chamber. Undue weight was given to the evidence of two first-term Liberal Councillors from the City of Sydney."
The letter also ignores a major objective of the Shooters and Fishers Bill - to give businesses two votes.
It is disappointing that misleading claims and factually incorrect information are being used by the Government to justify their support for the Shooters and Fishers Bill.