The Labor candidates hoping to be elected to Wollongong council this Saturday have pledged an “eradication taskforce” to get rid of the city’s unnecessary rules and regulations.
Announced as part of a six page jobs and economic growth strategy on Wednesday, the Red Tape Eradication Taskforce would be made up of councillors, residents and businesses.
Labor’s lord mayoral contender David Brown said he had received a number of complaints during his current council term about confusion and inefficiencies within the council.
“If you can come to council and say ‘this bit of council rules or regulation is not necessary for any legislative reasons’, we’ll strike it out,” he said.
“This is at arms length from the bureaucrats at council – it will be made up of councillors and community representative to get a view from outside the organisation.”
The lengthy election manifesto also includes a plan for a “one-stop shop” to make it quicker for investors to start up businesses and a procurement strategy that would favour local suppliers and tenderers.
“We’ve got a six page document with a whole range of issues… and we know that those initiatives will help local businesses,” Cr Brown said.
The Labor policy follows earlier announcements from the Liberals that they would set up an Illawarra Development Corporation and aim to create 10,000 jobs in three years, and a Greens party plan for a “night mayor” to oversee Wollongong’s after-dark businesses.
Cr Brown criticised the Liberal jobs plan, saying the 10,000 jobs was “just a number plucked out of the air”.
“I’m not going to get into a debate about how the Liberals have massaged their economic data – the way I see it they’ve just pulled a number out of the air,” he said.
“That number also sounds like natural growth in employment where there’s going to be 35,000 new people in the city.”
Asked why the current Labor councillors had not introduced the taskforce and other initiatives in their new strategy during the past six years on council, Cr Brown said they had “not had the numbers”.
With four Labor councillors Wollongong, the party’s representation has been lower-than-usual since 2011.
However, Cr Brown acknowledged they were facing a different political climate this time around.
“I’m getting very positive feedback, people are really responding to our policy of returning investment to the suburbs and the no rates rise is cutting through,” he said.
“And there’s under currents of discontent about some of our opponents – the Liberals are clearly struggling nationally and state-wide.”