Updated: Jul 28
There is little doubt that January 26th is a difficult day for indigenous persons around our Country, but is the obsession of local councils to abandon traditional Australia Day celebrations warranted?
This week saw Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp and her fellow Councillors raise this as one of the most important issues for the City of Melbourne. A city, that has office occupancy hovering around 25% and businesses begging for help. A city inundated with homeless and drug dealing almost on every corner, a city swamped with closed shops and graffiti, litter bins overflowing, and a sad sense that it will never be the same. There are over 18,000 small businesses in the City of Melbourne – why isn’t the Lord Mayor and her elected team firmly focused on them?
The mind boggles.
Victoria has 79 local Councils, each raking in their share of the industry's $12 Billion in revenue annually. Amidst the myriad of services – think pools, libraries, rubbish, parks, sporting facilities, and the like, councils claim to provide 25% of all services to their local communities and complain that rate capping is hurting their ability to offer “more services to expanding populations”.
So, before we tackle the Australia Day issue, let's get some things clear. Councils may claim they provide 25% of services with only 4% of the national taxes flowing to them but what Councils fail to acknowledge is that both State and Federal Governments provide Health, Transport, Roads, Infrastructure, Education, NDIS, National Security, Military, and Welfare just to name the main spending categories at a tune of many, many hundreds of Billions per annum. Councils simply provide localised and very small amounts of neighbourhood services. Very small indeed.
So, whilst complaining about their lack of revenue it strikes me as odd that they continue to insert themselves into Nuclear Disarmament, Rainbow accreditations, Climate Change, Bike Lanes in the middle of roads, Electric Vehicles, and the National Day of Celebrating all things Australia, when these are clearly driven by national or state policymakers.
Why is this such an important issue to your local council?
Well just like adding pronouns to their email signatures in a tokenistic attempt to appear as “big players” in being LGBTQI+ inclusive Government, they are now hellbent on forcing local communities to endure an ideological change that really belongs as a state or national conversation. An ideological agenda that is fuelled by tokenistic confected white guilt.
Australia recently elected a new federal government, this is in their wheelhouse not councils!
Its far more appropriate that Councils get back to their core remit of Roads, Pools, Parks, Libraries, etc and great customer service which has been declining rapidly. With such low amounts of our taxes shouldn’t they be trying to reign in costs and be efficient?
Could it be that in trying to be bigger fish than residents and ratepayers ever asked them to be, Councils are trying to be all things to everyone?
Are they just trying to play BIG GOVERNMENT and make themselves more important than they are? Is it why councils are demanding that they get representation at the federal national cabinet level?
I sure think so, and so do the thousands of talkback radio and newspaper readers commenting online. A quick review of these calls and comments highlights one thing – the Councillors and Executives of local councils are fast losing the trust of people in the streets and neighbourhoods. The majority that pays their $12 Billion in revenues each year are starting to be sick and tired of this ideological, cultish obsession.
Put simply, ordinary Victorians have had enough of being lectured to and their Council preaching the new gospel of virtue to them. Instead, Victorians want a Local Government System free of corruption and influence, that charges FAIR rates for services and lets the community be heard first and foremost. A system designed to let the people and their needs drive it, instead of the other way around.
They are tired of Councillors failing to represent the actual communities’ interests but pursuing their own ideological world views. All of this at the expense of overdevelopment of our suburbs whilst our rights are usurped, challenged, and thrown in the bin. Don’t even start us on the mess that is the complaints systems within Councils. You’ll know if you have recently tried to complain to your council that it is often a futile, frustrating, and overwhelming exercise.
Gone are the days when ordinary people mattered, nowadays our Council is only interested if you are a minority that can share your race, stated sex, sexuality, or climate agenda as a badge of honour, and if you happen to use pronouns on your email – you more than likely will jump ahead of the queue. These identifiers look fantastic on their their forms and surveys, because they show the council to be hip and fully inclusive indeed.
Councils really have gone off the rails, but like all things, eventually, the people will put a stop to this. Councils always underestimate the power of the people.
So back to Australia Day, I’ve asked several Council CEO’s how this is helping the real issues of indigenous poverty, abuse, and health outcomes………. needless to say, I am still waiting for any response.
Yet Councils unashamedly claim this is one of the most pressing local issues they need to address without delay.
So why did Sally Capp blast our airwaves and TV screens this week but not mention any of the 18,000 businesses she is meant to be supporting?
Maybe there is no media mileage in them, but there sure is in bagging Australia Day and doing it with your personal Pronouns to boot.
Don’t get me wrong , we need to fix indigenous issues properly. But this will not be done by our councils cancelling Australia Day. It will be done by individuals who spend time in indigenous communities tackling the high rates of abuse, substance and alcohol issues whilst educating and training people to help them lift their communities out of poverty.
If only councils understood that. Silly councils.