BAYSWATER council should focus on local services and not donate $5000 to help feed starving people in South Sudan, says Cr Brent Fleeton.
Cr Sally Palmer is proposing the city make the UNICEF donation after years of war with the north, inflation and a recent drought led to famine in the nascent country.
Cr Palmer told the Voice she penned the motion after she saw footage on TV of infants suffering from serious malnutrition. She says $5000 spread across the population of Bayswater works out to about seven cents a head and believes ratepayers expect councils to show leadership in times of crisis. “I feel our citizens are happy with doing that, I feel that everyone’s got a heart.”
“I’m not worried about losing brownie points with a councillor when people’s lives are at stake. I’m happy to put my reputation on the line if we can help South Sudan.”
The council has previously donated money to help overseas disasters, including the Haiti Earthquake appeal, Pakistan floods and the Abruzzo Earthquake.
But Cr Fleeton says Bayswater should be prioritising essentials like rubbish disposal and road and park maintenance.
“At best this is an issue for the federal government to grapple with,” he says.
“How can councillors vote to spend local money on an international issue this council has nothing to do with?
“If you think your local council should be donating to UNICEF, where should we draw the line? Do we say yes to the South Sudan food crisis but no to the Mosul Children’s emergency fund?”
by DAVID BELL