Thursday, May 30, 2024

Liverpool Councillor slams expenses motion as “lunge back to the dark ages”

A motion proposing that Liverpool City Councillors cover the costs of attendance at local government conferences has been slammed as “a lunge back to the dark ages” by Labor Councillor, Charishma Kaliyanda.

The motion, from Liberal Councillor Richard Ammoun, proposes Council amend the Councillor Payment and Expenses Policy to make conference registration fees, accommodation, transport (including flights), meals for councillors to be paid by councillors and not ratepayers.

Should the motion be successful, Cr Ammoun further proposes that Council write to all other NSW councils, the Minister for Local Government, NSW Premier and NSW Opposition leader to inform them of the change and encourage them to follow suit.

Anticipated costs savings if the motion is adopted would be in the order of $30,000 per annum.

Councillor Richard Ammoun.

Councillor Kaliyanda has slammed the motion, branding it as a “regressive attack on women in local government” and an attempt to hinder councillor attendance at Australian Local Government Women’s Association (ALGWA) seminars and workshops.

“Currently, women make up less than a third of councillors in NSW. It’s hard enough for women in politics, especially local government. It’s outrageous that women are still subject to these kinds of attacks” Cr Kaliyanda said.

A long-time ALGWA member, Cr Kaliyanda praised the work of the organisation for helping her find her feet as a Councillor and increasing the representation of women across politics.

“Organisations like ALGWA have made huge strides to increase female representation in local government. Activities like the annual conferences and the regular seminars they hold are invaluable in helping us develop skills and networks. This motion by Councillor Ammoun sends Liverpool Council back to the dark ages”

“What kind of signal does this send to female staff, mothers or young women in our community interested in representing their community at the local government level?”

“While some are hell-bent on taking our city backwards and pulling up the drawbridge on who gets to represent our local community – I believe in building a city for the 21st century and ensuring that our Council better represents the modern face of Liverpool,” she said.

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