Mayor slams budget cuts

Savage cuts to local government will flow from the federal budget, Blue Mountains Labor mayor Mark Greenhill warned this week.

Cr Greenhill said the budget would cost the council $267,000 in the first year and more than a million dollars over four years.

“If you vote against resisting this cut, you are in effect voting for taking a million dollars off roads and bridges and recreation facilities, libraries, and cultural facilities,” Cr Greenhill said.

During heated debate at the Blue Mountains City Council meeting, other Labor councillors condemned the budget as unfair in shifting costs to local government, through cutting funding and indexing council funding.

Cr Romola Hollywood said it was a “kick in the guts” to the people of New South Wales.

Another Labor councillor, Don Macgregor, said it was “unfair for local councils with very minor revenue raising abilities to be accepting cuts from the federal government who have endless capacity to raise revenue”.

“These miserable bean counters can’t put a value on the quality of life,” Cr Macgregor said.

The sole Greens councillor in the chamber, Geordie Williamson, joined Labor in condemning the budget, saying the pain would be spread unequally towards the less well off.

“Had the pain been spread around, the Australian people, which I think are fairly conservative, would have accepted it,” Cr Williamson said.

The three Liberal Party councillors in the Chamber largely supported the federal government’s budget, arguing that the country’s fiscal situation was unsustainable and tough measures were necessary.

“The problem with socialism is that you run out of other people’s money,” Cr Brendan Christie said.

Cr Christie and Mayor Greenhill crossed swords when the mayor spoke of the public concern he received in response to the budget, while Cr Christie said he did not at all receive any such public outcry.

“These changes affect my demographic, and those who I consider to be a significant part of my constituency. Not one has raised this issue with me, in person, by phone, email, by face book, by twitter, by Instagram, g-chat, MySpace, Google hangout or carrier pigeon,“ Cr Christie said.

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