Only Hills Liberals to go to conference

ALMOST $15,000 will be spent to send seven Hills councillors to the Local Government Association conference in Dubbo this month.

At the first meeting of The Hills Council since the September elections, councillors voted to send seven Liberal delegates to the conference at a cost of about $2100 each.

The conference is from October 28 to 30 and includes an address by Local Government Minister Don Page.

A council report said the conference had the "potential to increase the knowledge of elected representatives and assist in their development as leaders in the community".

Mayor Michelle Byrne, who will attend, said councils across the state were entitled to send delegates to the conference to discuss and debate important matters.

"The Hills Shire, like our neighbours in Parramatta, Hornsby and Blacktown, [is] entitled to seven voting delegates at this conference and it makes sense we send our full entitlement when our neighbours do the same," Cr Byrne said.

The conference also offers a social program but Cr Byrne said she would not be attending any optional tours and didn't expect other Hills councillors to do so.

Crs Byrne, Andrew Jefferies, Peter Gangemi, Jeff Lowe, Michael Thomas, Robyn Preston and Mark Taylor will attend.

Only Liberal councillors have been appointed to The Hills Council’s committees and community groups.

Last week councillors appointed nine Liberal delegates to eight associations and groups in The Hills.

Liberal councillors make up 75per cent of the council.

Mayor Michelle Byrne said: ‘‘our community recently elected nine Liberal councillors out of a total of 12 and therefore our community would expect that Liberal councillors would dominate the bulk of the representation’’.

Labor councillors did not argue against the appointments.

Labor councillor Ray Harty said the appointments showed the ‘‘political reality’’.

‘‘The political reality is there are nine Liberal councillors — they have a substantial majority,’’ Cr Harty said. 

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