A MOVE to donate $5000 of ratepayers’ money to help feed starving kids in South Sudan has been narrowly voted down by Bayswater council.
Cr Sally Palmer had tabled a motion to bolster UNICEF’s relief effort.
“Conflict, a failing economy and extreme weather have collided in South Sudan, creating a humanitarian catastrophe for children … more than a quarter of a million children are severely malnourished and need immediate, lifesaving aid,” stated her motion to council.
She said the $5000 donation would have equated to seven cents from each resident.
But her motion was defeated, despite Bayswater previously donating $10,000 to the Typhoon Haiyan relief in 2013, $10,000 to the Pakistan Flood relief and $5000 to the Haiti Earthquake Appeal in 2010.
Bayswater mayor Barry McKenna suggested they take the money out of the $40,000 annual mayoral dinner fund, and said he’d rather spend it on worthy causes than “one big nosh up”.
“I’m quite happy not to have a mayoral dinner and put the $40,000 back in the budget,” he said.
At the meeting Tony Green, president of the Bayswater City Residents Association, asked “why is council now considering giving away this enormous amount of ratepayer’s money to something which has absolutely no relation or benefit to either the city or its ratepayers?
“Do they not realise foreign aid is the responsibility of the federal government, and not theirs?
“Why don’t individual councillors who feel so concerned about this particular issue make a personal contribution out of their generous allowance that we pay them and leave it at that.”
Cr Brent Fleeton agreed and noted that on March 1, federal foreign minister Julie Bishop announced a $20 million donation to the relief effort overseas.
“$5000 that’s taxed from our local community should be going back to our local community,” he said, saying it could go on kids sporting programs or events that would boost town centres.
by DAVID BELL