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Peter Bernard - 12 August 2014

Peter Bernard made the following comments in Non Agenda Public forum at the Ordinary Council Meeting on 12 August 2014.

Council's Transparency

Once again Mr Mayor it appears that the councillor's approval of recommendations made by its consultants for the SCRS-LRP & the PRF with respect to public consultation and transparency have already been ignored. Despite the legal warning and transparency recommendations made by the many council advisors they seem have ignored those fundamentals.

After spending countless tens of thousands on this report I consider it an insult to the community of the Eurobodalla to have only one copy of the report on Exhibition at the local library. Further to that I have been advised that:

  1. There are no hard copies available for interested persons to borrow.
  2. There are no copies in disk form to purchase.
  3. If wanted a copy they would need to bring in a blank desk (I drove home and back and the very obliging and busy library staff carried out this function. However, I have not been able to access information owing to the council state of the art programs.
  4. I am also advised that the only copy for public perusal arrived after closing hours of the intended proposed exhibition date meaning that three days of the exhibition period would have already been used
  5. There were only half a dozen or so copies of a previous confidential fact sheet available. This was designed for the public and councillors to understand.
  6. Information from various sources has indicated:

   (a)  No resident or non resident ratepayer has received this fact sheet in the mail and notification that the report is available for viewing at the local libraries or on the website "xyz". I have already had several call from persons stating they cannot access the report. No worry most of it has been regurgitated from details previously put on the internet years ago!

   (b)   None of the six thousand odd properties having notations placed on their 149 certificates have been advised.

  1. Whether they will still be affected by the current SLR policy (Refer advice from Council's legal consultants – see report)
  2. Details of the report and fact sheet and advice that they will have 42 days from the time of receipt of that notification by mail to submit a submission.

   (c)   That all property owners be advised of the direct and indirect impact of this preliminary report.

It has been noticed that a number of very serious emissions in the report and some areas have been "cherry picked for special attention". I will draw your attention, in particular the Mayor and Deputy Mayor that no mention has been made to a "hidden" flood report regarding the Mummuga, the little lake, the duck pond and Wagonga Inlet. These areas in particular the Narooma flat is the most vulnerable in the Shire (refer Narooma News Report – scientist B. Gorman). Mr Mayor and Deputy Mayor I would hazard to say your necks may be on the block if you don't move for immediate public release of that report. I am sure that at least three locations should have been classed under that policy as a current hazard where "immediate action is required to advise, prepare and prevent harm". It was also noticed in the report that councillors have not been advised of which public stakeholders have been invited to make a submission. This is a Shire wide problem and all public and private "stakeholders" should be advised. Could I be advised within five working days which public stakeholders have been invited to make comment on the SCRS-IRP and PRF?