AN act of generosity sparked debate at City of Stirling council last night.
A $10,000 donation to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund for the Italian earthquake, put forward by Mayor Giovanni Italiano, had some councillors question why the money would only go to Italy.
The August 24 earthquake in the town of Amatrice, in Northern Italy claimed the lives of more than 280 people.
Councillor Karen Caddy proposed the words ‘and elsewhere’ were added to the motion, to include other natural disasters the Red Cross attended.
“I was uncomfortable that we were specifically targeting Italy when there are other disasters all around the world,” she said.
“The Red Cross also supports disasters here in Australia too which I was keen to support, it is a good fund to be supporting.
“My heart goes out to all those affected by disasters all over the world.”
Cr Italiano said he had concerns with the suggestion from Cr Caddy, which would change the intent of the donation to the earthquake relief.
Cr Rod Willox said it was not for the City to decide where the money would be best spent.
“It is the Red Cross who decide where the immediate need is,” he said.
“Normally it takes a disaster for people to dig into their pockets; did we contribute to China? What about Nepal, which is very poverty-stricken?
“Perception is we are doing it because there are a number of Italians in the City.”
Cr David Michael said the City could not tell the Red Cross where to spend its $10,000 donation.
“The City has a large Italian population, but I don’t think that has any bearing on this,” Cr David Lagan said.
“I can’t support adding in the words ‘and elsewhere’ because it changes the intent and the immediacy of it.”
Cr Samantha Jenkinson said the wording of the motion was not the issue.
“The reality is the Red Cross will put the money where it is needed, there has been a disaster somewhere that is significant to us,” she said.
“I would support whatever is put forward, it doesn’t really matter what the wording is.”
Councillors supported Cr Italiano’s motion.