Harden Murrumburrah Express letters to the editor, March 2, 2017

QUESTIONS: Hilltops administrator Wendy Tuckerman. Former Harden Councillor Scott Collins has questioned some of the appointments at Goldenfields water.
QUESTIONS: Hilltops administrator Wendy Tuckerman. Former Harden Councillor Scott Collins has questioned some of the appointments at Goldenfields water.

Region’s water woes

The council amalgamation process from the start seemed to make little sense to the average person and one of the peculiarities of the process recently came to my attention.  

One interesting outcome is that county councils like Goldenfields water, which services Harden and Young as their bulk water supplier (and previously had as its board, councillors from each member council serviced by Goldenfields), can retain the same number of representatives that they had prior to amalgamations. 

This means Hilltops gets two representatives. Those representatives are administrator Wendy Tuckerman, replacing Young’s previous representative Councillor Alan Miller, and Mr Chris Manchester previously representing Harden.  

Nothing too unusual I guess, except we were told about the merits of one large council being streamlined and cost efficient by not duplicating roles. Obviously not the case here where Ms Tuckerman would likely be entitled to claim the allowance paid by Goldenfields of about $9000 for a role she has chosen for herself, on top of her administrator’s salary of about $180k.  

Another point is Chris Manchester was not elected to Hilltops council, he was selected and approved by administrator Wendy Tuckerman, ex local government Minister Paul Toole and local Nationals MP Katrina Hodgkinson to be the chair of Hardens LRC, and is paid a wage of about $22,000 p.a according to published figures, by Hilltops council.

Then he was delegated to Goldenfields to represent Hilltops council by Administrator Tuckerman, where he has been made chair, by a vote of the board of Goldenfields in Oct. 2016 and has received another approx. $25,000 p.a., again according to published figures, from Goldenfields for that role. 

My question is, does a conflict of interest arise if an administrator whose support has been essential in allowing you the opportunities to attain these roles, then sits on a board that you chair? Should the need arise and she requires your support, is it possible to be completely impartial?  

Looking back to an interview given to the ABC early last year regarding Boorowa’s severe water shortages and the necessity of finding a more secure water source, Boorowa local member Pru Goward said "urgent" action was needed to address Boorowa's water shortage as the region's population continued to grow. But she said plans to connect the town to a neighbouring supply should be approached cautiously.

"Communities don't like sharing their water when they're in regions where water is scarce and unpredictable as so much of inland Australia is," Ms Goward said.

"I think negotiating with Goldenfields [Water County Council] or Yass is going to be tough, but Goulburn was a bit luckier because the Southern Highlands has got such a great water supply.”

There are questions that need an answer.

Scott Collins


Two bob each way

THE people who complain about everything being underfunded (hospitals, Gonski, Aboriginal causes, school halls, pensioners, roads, pink batts, environmental causes, railways, police, on and on and on).

Are they the same people complaining that overseas investors are buying the country up?

If you borrow money from someone, they then have the right to come and take something in exchange. 

Too many Australians are hermaphrodites. 

They want the best of everything but a lot of us are not working hard enough and bludge off the system. 

We shouldn’t be wasting millions fixing up detention centres that have been trashed. 

We shouldn’t be paying benefits to some people who have no intentions of helping themselves or the country. 

There has to be a plan B.

Bryan Pomeroy