On 27/08/13, I moved a motion that Ryde Council unanimously endorsed to establish a register of lobbyists in relation to Development Applications in the City of Ryde.
I what has been mooted to be a local government first, I told council that this was the first in a number of reforms I intended to bring to council in the near future.
Like most in Ryde I've been shocked and dismayed at what this council has been through over the past few months. Residents are up in arms at the way certain elected representatives are being reported about in the press.
Our community deserves to be confident that their Development Applications are being dealt with on grounds of planning principles, or on an individual Councillors opinion, rather than because of an existing relationship with a developer or a developer's lobbyist.
The establishment of any such register is an important step to ensure that the community can have full confidence in this council.
It is vital, for both elected officials and the public, to know precisely who lobbyists represent when they have dealings with staff and Councillors. This register would serve to shine a light, on what at times, can be a place of mystery and intrigue.
Many examples exist or lobbyist registers at both the state and federal level. They require lobbyists to:
- Declare who they are, what they do and who they work for;
- Declare the names of clients on whose behalf the lobbyist conducts lobbyist activities
- Agree to a number of lobbying principles, namely to be truthful and not act corruptly.
Council will report back preferred models of operation before the register is established.