Myths and Frequently Asked Questions
Myth 1: The Greens are "Anti Development" - Development Applications

During the 17 years of Greens Councillors presence on Kiama Council they have generally followed the following principles when voting on "development proposals":

  • A development application which complies with the rules will be supported.
  • A development application which requires a variation of the rules will be supported only when it can be demonstrated that without the variation it is NOT possible to obtain a practical development outcome.
  • Where a variation from the rules means that the amenity (views, sunlight, privacy etc) might be affected, a change in the proposal is usually sought to overcome these problems.
  • A development application which sets a precendent for other non complying developments will not be supported.
  • Variations to setbacks from boundaries have been seen by our Councillors as important matters for consideration.
  • Overdevelopment of a site has been seen by our Councillors as an important matter for consideration.

It is NOT "anti development" to oppose developments which DO NOT comply with the rules.

In recent Council periods Greens Councillors have supported the delegation of determination of most of the DAs which comply with the rules to the professional staff of Council. This means that close to 95% of developments do not even get to Council.

Development proposals which request variations or are subject to considerable community objections will be brought to Council for consideration. The majority of these (sometimes with ammendments) are subsequently approved unanimously by Councillors.

The number of development applications which are NOT approved by Council is small and most fo these are also recommended for refusal by the professional staff of Council.

Those that suggest that the Greens are "Anti Development" should provide particular examples of this rather than hiding behind simplistic lies.

It is NOT "anti development" to take this approach. It is the same approach taken by the majority of Councillors.

Myth 2: The Greens are "Anti Development" - Subdivisions and Rezonings

Greens Councillors will and have applied the same principles to subdivision as they have to normal DA assessment.

  • Where the subdivision conforms to the rules set out in the Local Environment Plan and Development Control Plans they will be supported.
  • Where the subdivision does NOT result in an overdevelopment of a site it will be supported

It is NOT "anti development" to take this approach. It is the same approach taken by the majority of Councillors.

Rezonings require a modification of the Local Environment Plan. In the period of the last Council 2004-2008 modifications to the Local Environment Plan which have involved rezoning of land and which might involve a higher level of development have been unanimously supported by Councillors, included the Greens Councillors.

Support for these proposals by the Greens Councillors does not justify the "anti development" tag.

Myth 3: The Greens will "shut down Kiama"

Growth in the Kiama LGA over the last few Council periods has NOT been impeded by the action of Kiama Greens Councillors. Decisions of Council require a minimum of 5 Councillors to vote in favour.

All councillors, including the Greens Councillors have unanimously supported a long term approach to population growth in the Kiama LGA.

As part of the current review of the Kiama Local Environment Plan, Kiama Council was obliged under the Illawarra Regional Strategy to provide for a certain amount of growth over the next 25 years. These projections have been met via the Housing Strategy which has been unanimously supported by ALL councillors (obviously including Greens Councillors).

All applications received during the review period requesting rezonings for residential development have been held together so that they can be reviewed for appropriateness under the same guidelines in a transparent and strategic manner.

All of this information will be available to the community for viewing as part of the public exhibition of the draft LEP.

Support for this process, in agreement with all the Councillors can NOT be described as "shutting down Kiama".

Myth 4: There should be no parties in Local Government

One concern about parties in local government usually appears when a particular party gains control of a Council and there is reduced opportunity for debate, differences of opinion and community input.

Recent examples of Labor dominated Councils in Wollongong and Shellharbour demonstrate the fact that without diversity of opinion there is disruption to community respect for Councils processes with the likely outcome of reduced impartiality in decision making.

In some cases this disrespect for community extends to the alleged corruption highlighted in recent investigations.

Similar things have happened in Councils dominated by a clique of independents working together to control the outcomes and stiffling genuine debate.

Kiama Greens involvement in Kiama Council has never been a majority involvement. In fact the broad range of opinions and broad spectrum of political representation has ensured that Kiama Council has functioned successfully. Considering the nature of the Kiama LGA constituency it is highly unlikely that Kiama LGA voters would ever vote such that a particlar group gained a majority.

The benefits to the community of Kiama LGA in having candidates standing under the banner of The Greens is that it says very clearly which values are going to be represented by Councillors elected under that banner.

Hence "When you vote Green you know what you are getting".

Myth 5: The Greens caucus and are controlled by their State body.

One of the most important things about the Greens decision making is that local groups act independently of the State organisation.

The main problem with caucusing appeared in Wollongong Council when a small number of councillors controlled the voting of a larger group and hence the whole council. This is not the case with the Greens. Independence of opinion is respected.

Similarly the local group in Kiama does not control the way that Kiama Greens Councillors vote on any matters. Further more Greens Councillors are not obliged to vote the same way on any issue. It does follow that if Councillors are motivated by the same principles they are likely to vote the same way, however there are examples of Greens Councillors voting differently on some matters.

Naturally Greens Councillors will discuss matters associated with Council. It should be noted however that all Councillors talk to each other about these things prior to meetings. This discussion is important in order that solutions can be worked out to problems and differences of opinion. This does not imply the negative outcomes from caucusing described above.

Greens Councillors on Kiama Council will vote according to their consciences, legal obligations and the four basic principles which are reflected in Greens policies. These are:

  • Ecological sustainability;
  • Social equality and economic justice;
  • Grassroots democracy; and
  • Peace, disarmament and nonviolence