Liverpool councillor calls on candidates to support banning developers from council

Liverpool councillor and mayoral candidate Nathan Hagarty. Picture: Supplied
Liverpool councillor and mayoral candidate Nathan Hagarty. Picture: Supplied

A vote to ban property developers from serving as councillors passed the NSW Legislative Council last week.

Liverpool councillor and mayoral candidate Nathan Hagarty has called on all candidates in the September 4 local government elections to publicly support the proposed ban.

"With local government elections just over two months away, it's important voters know exactly where candidates stand," he said.

"Are they about trust and transparency or looking after the financial interests of their mates and donors?"

The Labor candidate has also launched a 'Transparency Watch' webpage to track candidate's positions on important issues, including the ban on property developers running as councillors.

"I'm calling on every candidate running for Liverpool Council at this election to publicly state whether they are for or against property developers running for elected office," Cr Hagarty said.

"Labor Party rules ban property developers from being selected for public office. It's time for other parties and candidates to do the same.

"This is about integrity. Liverpool can't go back to the bad old days of ICAC raids. Councillors should be acting in the community's best interest, not their own private gain."

The legislative council voted 23 to 18 to ban property developers from serving as councillors.

The vote will now go to the Lower House of Parliament.

VOTE: Labor's spokesperson for Heathcote and Oatley Mark Buttigieg MLC. Picture: Supplied.

VOTE: Labor's spokesperson for Heathcote and Oatley Mark Buttigieg MLC. Picture: Supplied.

Camden MLC Mark Buttigieg said Labor believed it was essential to protect the integrity of the decisions made by elected councils.

"We need to ensure that dodgy developers cannot make planning and development choices that poorly impact our local communities," he said.

"Labor Party policy for some time has been that property developers should not serve as councillors. Our party's rules ensure property developers cannot be selected or endorsed as a candidate for public office."

A NSW government source said Liberal and National Lower House members would want to look at the proposed legislation closer before deciding on it.

"There is a safeguard in place that currently councillors are not dealing with development applications. Instead, they go to independent planning panels," the source said.

Mr Buttigieg said that safeguard had not worked.

"Planning panels don't take away the ability for people to give advantage to themselves," he said.

"Where the big windfall is the knowledge of rezonings and knowledge of planning proposals and access to knowledge that the public doesn't have. That's an unfair advantage to developers and real estate agents who may also be councillors."

This story Liverpool councillor calls on candidates to support banning developers from council first appeared on St George & Sutherland Shire Leader.