Shadow Minister for Local Government, Peter Primrose has chosen Newcastle to announce Labor is putting forward legislation to ban developers and real estate agents from holding office on local councils.

The new legislation is being put forward in a bid to avoid the electoral donations scandal which surrounded the state election in the Hunter in 2011 and stamp out corruption or the perception of corruption in local government decision making.

The opposition believes having individuals who are affiliated in development or real estate given the power to make decisions on a council is a major conflict of interest.

“We’re not saying that real estate agents and all developers are bad people, we’re just saying that the conflict of interest is such that it’s just not appropriate for them to sit and make judgements and decisions in relation to local government planning and other matters,” said Peter Primrose.

Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp, Shadow Minister for Local Government

Peter Primrose and Lord Mayor of Newcastle Nuatali Nelmes.

Image Newcastle Herald

“The parliament has under both parties unanimously agreed to introduce bans on developers making donations at the council and state elections and yet despite the fact that that ban continues on making donations we’re still allowing those same people to sit as  councillors in local government.”

Banning property developers and real estate agents from running in local elections is one part of a three-point plan Labor has for the legislation, which also includes popularly elected mayors for four years to end horse-trading between parties for the position and give locals a say and also putting a cap on political donations.

Labor is calling for the cap to be placed on political donations and campaign spending ahead of the local council elections in September, less than 100 days away.

“At the moment, be it the leader of the opposition or Premier Berejiklian when they’re running, there are limits on how much money they can spend but that doesn’t apply at local council level so we are calling upon premier Berejiklian to introduce spending caps as recommended by the electoral matters committee,” said Peter Primrose.