Want to know how Council keeps you in the dark?
For years now Port Stephens Council has limited access to DA documentation seemingly to ensure that they make it harder for the public to get information on applications they are considering.
Time and again the TRRA Inc and other members of the public have asked the General Manager, who sets this policy, to release the documentation in electronic format so that people can access DA information on-line.
Time and again the Council planners have used the excuse that they are limited by the Copyright Act and cannot make the information available.
This is incorrect and this was tested by a legal challenge. The result was Council had to back down and provide the electronic information on one DA (The proposed expansion of the Soldiers Point Marina).
Council is at it again. They recently released a DA for public comment and, yes you guessed it, they claimed Copyright law prohibited them from releasing the DA documentation in electronic form.
It’s now time for us to push back.
Everyone has the right to this information and it is responsibility of the GM to change Port Stephens Council’s stance on this.
Here is a sample letter HERE (Compiled by the Soldiers Point Community Group) which everyone should send to the General Manager, Mr P Gesling. Council planning officers seem to agree with our position but we believe it is the only the GM’s view which has set this operating principle with our Council. We have checked and no other Council appears to operate this way.
Write to him today to express your outrage and demand the General Manager change his stance on this matter. Email email@example.com Attention General Manager.
TRRA will be doing a full investigative report on the difficulties we have experienced accessing information relating to specific development applications with Port Stephens Council over the last few years very soon, and it will be posted here on the website. Feel free to add your comments and experiences, this is a matter of great concern to ratepayers.