Wingecarribee Shire Mayor Councillor Duncan Gair is calling on councils across the State to join Wingecarribee Shire Council in petitioning the NSW State Government for immediate action against ongoing maintenance practices carried out by electricity providers.
“An issue that regularly appears before Council is the perception that our local electricity provider continues to indiscriminately prune trees near power lines,” Councillor Gair said.
“When we attended last October’s NSW Local Government Conference and spoke to colleagues from across the State, we learnt that this issue was by no means isolated to the Southern Highlands,” he said.
“Our Council subsequently put forward the suggestion that a meeting should be sought with the Premier of NSW, the Hon Mike Baird MP in his capacity as Minister for Infrastructure, to seek assurances that these practices would be reviewed prior to any form of leasing or privatisation of electricity utilities.”
Other issues to be raised by the proposed meeting would include greater consultation with councils and their communities in respect to clearance zones for electricity poles and replacement of ageing poles with concrete structures.
“I’m happy to report that this suggestion received unilateral support from councils across the State,” the Mayor said.
“However in recent months, we’ve fielded further complaints about aggressive pruning and just last month a Notice of Motion was carried asking Council to host a public meeting whereby residents could voice their concerns.”
Councillor Gair has subsequently written to all Mayors across the State seeking their support in petitioning the President of Local Government NSW, Councillor Keith Rhoades in organising a meeting with the Premier so the concerns of the State’s councils can be heard.
The call for intervention follows a locally organised public meeting to be held next Tuesday 17 March 2015 from 6.30pm at the Bowral Memorial Hall where members of the public will be provided an opportunity to voice their concerns. Both the Member for Goulburn, Pru Goward MP and the Member for Wollondilly, Jai Rowell MP, will join local councilors at this meeting.
“It’s obvious that this issue is of concern to many people from both rural and metropolitan areas across the State,” the Mayor said. “However we believe a balance can be realistically struck between safety obligations and aesthetic pruning.”
“We believe it’s time for the State Government to take action and have a hard look at an issue which has many communities across the State up in arms,” Councillor Gair added.