Abraham Lincoln said: “If [people are] given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.” What undermines confidence in the bureaucracy is a tendency to only highlight ‘facts’ that suit their agenda.

The marketing Council is doing on this year’s budget omits ‘unpleasant’ facts like a $14m increase in Council salaries while nurses and teachers have a pay freeze.

The marketing says it’s just an extra $1 a day or two more bottles of milk a week to fund Council but they fail to highlight a 30 per cent increase in water rates and 17 per cent increase in user fees on top. That comes to $612 for the average household or 172 extra bottles of milk!

We’re told the increase is to catch up on years of infrastructure neglect but is this fact or more marketing? Construction of a $180m water treatment started in 2018; it’s funded and will be finished next year. $100m plus was invested recently in the sewage system. Residents pay the highest rates of the major cities precisely because of the investment in infrastructure.

Surely they mean traffic congestion? However, almost every congested road that strangles our city is a State Highway that Government must fund and they are billions behind. Council should be transparent that their budget is focussed on buses and bikes rather than the roads the public expect.

Residents understand growth pressures but they deserve the facts, without the spin. The idea that TCC is starved of ratepayer money is bureaucratic nonsense. What’s needed is a more effective and efficient bureaucracy. 

Democracy HQ
A personal view,
by Councillor Steve Morris