I have just about had a gut full of the the grandstanding, pointscoring and infighting regarding Wingecarribee Shire Councillors' decision-making processes about recent bushfires and how to help those affected.
People are hurting and suffering. For those who have lost their homes, two hours of debate between councillors, to make any sort of decision regarding support, is like a lifetime.
These people have lost treasured possessions, they have lost their safe haven and their lives are in limbo with little or no idea when they will see a light at the end of a very dark tunnel.
Every win with an insurance company, every grant that helps them directly to clean up their property, dispose of the debris or put them on the path towards rebuilding, every donation that helps rebuild their life, is a step in the right direction.
They are tired, sad, displaced and struggling to regain normality.
Their situation and their battles should not be turned into a political battleground - at any level of government.
Those in a place of leadership should be leading the charge to support in any way possible, but sadly that level of leadership has been buried in a clash of personalities among those on the local front line - our councillors.
Even more concerning is that it would seem the tragedy of the bushfires is being used by some to grab attention and stir the pot.
It is difficult not to acknowledge that there is a local government election in the wind and some may have already begun their campaign - at the expense of a community that is struggling.
This is not a time to call for council sacking, a step that is clearly unlikely - in fact, redundant - so close to an election. This is not a time to banter over who came up with a good recommendation first. This is not a time for individual councillors to complain about the recommendations and motions they put forward that failed to gain support. This is not a time to moan about the timing of announcements - if the good news gets out to the community that is all that matters. This is not a time to shoot down any steps taken by a resident who is reeling from the tragedy of their own losses.
How about these elected officials step down off their political podiums and simply get on with clear and concise discussion, decision making and procedural planning to ensure the people in this community who need support, get what they need. Let's start with the extraordinary meeting set down for February 6 intended to look at the waiving of development application fees for bushfire-affected residents.
Save the politics for another day. Who knows? With a decent, considerate attitude and approach to the discussion and decision, your community-motivated efforts might just help you attract greater respect from those who will be tasked with making the decision on who wins and loses at the next election.
This is a message to all councillors.
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