Local government’s role should have its limits


John Wetherall,
Nedlands.
There should be boundaries to the powers of local government.
John Wetherall, Nedlands. There should be boundaries to the powers of local government.

I AM somewhat flattered by Mr Colin Latchem comparing me to Margaret Thatcher in his letter in last week’s edition – even though his reasons are wrong; after all the Iron Lady did save England from financial ruin and staunchly defended its sovereignty.

The paramount remit of the City of Nedlands Council is to ensure the City provides high quality, cost-efficient services for ratepayers. Nedlands administration does this very well indeed and I am pleased to support my council colleagues, the administration and most importantly, electors in this essential role.

For example, Nedlands has one of the best, cost-efficient rubbish/recycling services in WA.

Unfortunately, the one important exception to the rule is the Town Planning Scheme. Nedlands should have had a new scheme some 20 plus years ago and ratepayers have been forced to endure the outdated TPS2 for many years, despite the community strongly endorsing changes 10 years ago.

I am also pleased to support the many projects undertaken by the City to promote a “sense of community” and the natural beauty of our city.

However, I do not accept that local government should interfere with property rights any more than is essential. Nor should it engage in social engineering that tells us how to live our lives, or forces political opinions on ratepayers.

The proclivity of local government to intrude into this space is very divisive and undermines the personal choices and responsibilities of citizens.

Some persons may think local government should have wider role in society but in my view the electorate would not accept this premise if they were properly informed of the consequences.