Grumpy / Why don’t we trust politicians?

Community advocate MAREA FATSEAS is grumpy that as soon as the election is over, it will be business as usual, with the interests of developers trumping the community.

THERE’S a disturbing deficit in the ACT and it’s not just financial. It’s also moral.

Marea Fatseas.

Marea Fatseas.

Of all the issues emerging in the Territory elections, this should concern us all. It’s “a trust deficit” – a deepening divide between voters and the political class. Sadly, many of us no longer trust politicians because they’re no longer listening. They prefer to rule rather than represent.

I am tired of our political leaders not taking our concerns seriously. I know that as soon as the election is over, it will be business as usual, with the interests of developers trumping the community.

It’s hard to know whom to trust. The annual returns of political donations lodged with the ACT Electoral Office reveal the Labor and Liberal parties are major beneficiaries of developer donations.

I have a track record of advocating for the community. As former president of the Yarralumla Residents Association, I led the successful community campaign against the massive residential development near the Canberra Brickworks. While pleased with the outcome, I suspect the massive development will be back on after the election.

Learning little from the Brickworks experience, the government then revealed it was considering an unsolicited proposal for another massive development – the Great Wall of apartments around Manuka Oval. Cloaked in secrecy and with no consultation this was presented to residents as a fait accompli. Residents’ concerns about the sheer scale of the proposal and its potentially devastating impacts on public space, traffic and heritage were swept aside.

Light rail is another example where the government wants to be taken on trust. There has been little examination of transport alternatives and the ACT auditor-general has raised concerns about the costing estimates of the first stage. Yet Labor has already announced stage two. Where is the business case? Calling a press conference and displaying the planned route between Civic and Woden is hardly a business case. The government says it will prepare the case after the elections. In other words, trust them – let’s build it and we will bill you later. Is the community seriously expected to cop this?

I am standing as an independent candidate in Kurrajong. I do not accept political donations from developers. My campaign is self-funded and run by volunteers. I will press for a ban on developer donations to candidates and political parties. I will also push for the appointment of an integrity commissioner. If our politicians are doing nothing wrong they have nothing to fear.

Marea Fatseas is standing as an independent candidate for Kurrajong in the ACT election on October 15.

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