NSW Greens MP and local government spokesperson David Shoebridge has described State Government moves to suspend Blue Mountains City Council as “yet another attack on local democracy”.
“The Greens commend the Blue Mountains Council staff, community and councillors who have campaigned to address serious asbestos safety issues. However we oppose the Liberal Government's plans to suspend the council as yet another attack on local democracy,” the MP’s office said in a statement on Wednesday.
“While there are very real concerns with the transparency and thoroughness of council’s response to asbestos contamination, WorkSafe NSW is currently conducting its own independent inquiry to address this issue. It is a serious misstep by the Local Government Minister to threaten to sack the council while WorkSafe NSW undertakes its inquiry.”
Mr Shoebridge said “the information about asbestos contamination has come to light through brave whistleblowers with the help of a local Greens councillor [Kerry Brown] who have always had community safety as their top priority.
“At all times Greens Councillors are committed to transparency and ensuring that the community is protected from hazards such as asbestos,” he said.
“Asbestos even in minuscule amounts can be lethal, this is why there are very real concerns about the issue.
“It would be an act of political bastardry to sack the councillors who have been working to keep residents and staff safe.
“The Local Government Minister and this State Government needs to back away from another heavy-handed threat against a local council.
“Local democracy can be untidy but it’s the level closest to the people and Blue Mountains Council shows how Greens on council can force accountability,” Mr Shoebridge said.