Helensburgh councillor Greg Petty must shoulder some of the responsibility for a series of attacks against him, Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said yesterday.
Cr Bradbery said Cr Petty had aggravated his situation by participating in ‘‘tit-for-tat’’ exchanges with some members of the community.
The lord mayor yesterday acknowledged the gravity of the attacks on Cr Petty, the most recent on Friday night in which someone cut power to his house and CCTV system, and said no elected official or resident should be subjected to such treatment.
But he also said councillors had to be careful about what they said and how they put forward their positions on particular issues, especially if they could be considered sensitive.
‘‘Cr Petty is doing his job, yes, but he’s also someone who has taken a very strong position on a certain side, [and] I think it has in some ways aggravated the community,’’ he said.
‘‘I’m not suggesting for a moment that he should be subjected to these things [attacks].
‘‘Cr Petty is entitled to put his opinion before council and advocate for a certain position...but he’s also there to represent that community and he should be engaging with that community.
‘‘There are faults on both sides of this; it’s not just one way. But, let me say, a councillor is entitled to his own security and that of his family and property.’’
Cr Bradbery yesterday appealed for calm in the community, scolding those who were treating the matter as some sort of game.
"I think some in the community have turned it into a sport. I think it's called 'Petty baiting'," he said.
"It's tit for tat, so every time something happens, Cr Petty responds, then others [in the community] feel it's their prerogative to go and annoy him more.
"I'm calling for people to back off."
Cr Bradbery also confirmed the council's previous stance that the attacks were a matter for the NSW police.
He said the council had been in contact with Wollongong police for several months regarding the attacks, and spoke to acting Wollongong police superintendent Tim Beattie as recently as yesterday morning.
"We're looking at options with the police and they are the ones who will make the call as to how it will be dealt with," Cr Bradbery said, adding increasing police and security firm patrols were being considered.
Acting Wollongong police superintendent Tim Beattie confirmed police were conducting a thorough investigation into the matter, and urged anyone with information to come forward.
Former South Coast MP and strident anti-corruption activist John Hatton yesterday rallied behind Cr Petty's cause, urging NSW police to dedicate adequate resources to uncovering the councillor's attackers.