The Boundary Commission’s report comes hot on the heels of last week’s meeting between gay and lesbian community representatives and Harry Woods. At the meeting, Woods said that he would take a very dim view of any new council which did not continue to provide the same level of service as that currently enjoyed by the gay and lesbian community. The report also adds urgency to the proposed meeting between Sartor and gay community representatives scheduled for next week.
Although South Sydney included the gay and lesbian community groups’ position statement on boundary re-form as an appendix to their submission to the Commission, the report pays scant reference to its concerns. The report notes South Sydney’s submission had highlighted the importance of the diversity and the -˜various communities’ in the local government area (including gay, lesbian, transgender, aboriginal and lower socio-economic groups) and the need to encourage the retention of the area’s -˜urban village environment’. How-ever, the report fails to address these concerns further.
ACON president Adrian Lovney, who attended the meet-ing with Woods, said that too much of the debate about boundary changes was focused on turf, control and patch and not enough on the real interests of affected communities.
It seems to me that the interests and the aspirations of the gay and lesbian community are being considered as an afterthought in this process if they are really being considered at all. And we should be concerned about that, he said.
While the proposal to merge the two cities held some attraction for gay and lesbian residents, Lovney said that the overall effect on services would need to be assessed.
On the face of it, it would appear to address the concerns we have about the community being split over two local government areas but I don’t know what it would mean for service delivery.