Council rejects business votes

No bill: Penrith councillor John Thain doesn't want the City of Sydney Amendment Bill rolled out into regional councils such as Penrith Council. Picture: Gary Warrick

No bill: Penrith councillor John Thain doesn't want the City of Sydney Amendment Bill rolled out into regional councils such as Penrith Council. Picture: Gary Warrick

PENRITH councillor John Thain fears the proposed law giving businesses the vote in Sydney City Council could extend to suburban and regional councils.

He is calling on the Local Government New South Wales to oppose the City of Sydney Amendment (Elections) Bill 2014, introduced by the Shooters and Fishers MP Robert Borsak.

The bill would give local business two votes in future City of Sydney Council elections — threatening Clover Moore's long hold over the mayoral position.

Although it affects the City of Sydney Council, Cr Thain said the bill could be introduced into other councils like Penrith.

"I'm deeply concerned that independents will lose out and won't get elected, and major parties will benefit," Cr Thain said.

"Business will get two votes each unlike residents who will only get one."

Cr Thain said if the bill was introduced into Penrith, residents' ability to influence decisions in the city would be severely diminished.

"I don't think it's fair that businesses will run the city and residents will play second fiddle," he said.

"If that happens, services that we provide like child care services or public swimming pools will be sold.

Penrith councillor Maurice Girotto agreed.

"I, with John Thain find

this very disturbing that this

is going ahead," he said.

"We need to meet as a collective body to address this."

Councillor Jim Aitken said the bill would work in the City of Sydney where there are many businesses, but it wouldn't work in Penrith where businesses are a small minority.

Councillor Kevin Crameri believes businesses have the right to vote in elections.

"My view is a business is like a ratepayer and they should be entitled to one vote not two," he said.

"Two votes is double dipping.

"Businesses are affected like residents and they should have a say in how the city is run."

Penrith councillors voted unanimously to oppose the bill with an amendment to include a community consultation.

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