Alex Greenwich, Independent Member for Sydney, has expressed concern that the Shooters and Fishers Party proposed changes to City of Sydney elections could remove the existing voting rights of thousands of Sydney’s small businesses.
The Shooters and Fishers Party bill adopts the Melbourne model and because Melbourne has a different rating system, many small businesses will lose their existing right to vote. Section 16B of the Shooters and Fishers Party bill limits the right to be enrolled to vote for any one parcel of land to two owners, two rate paying lessees or two occupiers. Therefore, any parcel of land that is rated, such as a food court or shopping-mall out of which more than one business operates, would see the owner of that parcel of land get two votes and all of the individual lease holding businesses lose their existing voting rights.
Mr Greenwich said:
“This poorly thought-through bill doubles the vote of corporate land owners and big business, removes the vote of small businesses and relegates residents to second class citizens.”
“I hope the government didn't intend to remove the vote of small businesses, however this is what would occur if the Shooters and Fishers Party bill becomes law. I have asked the minister to withdraw support for the bill and work with me, the City of Sydney and the community on a genuine solution"
“The bill is a mess and shows that the inquiry that recommended it failed to do its research, intent on adopting the Melbourne model despite Melbourne’s different rating system not translating to Sydney.
“The aim of the entire process has clearly been a political witch hunt by the Shooters and Fishers Party. The government must start working with the City, all businesses and residents if it genuinely wants to help grow the business vote.
Mr Greenwich has introduced an alternative bill that maintains the current eligibility, allowing business to enrol to vote if they pay more than $5,000 a year in rent. Mr Greenwich’s bill provides a simple way to immediately ensure all non-residential voters can exercise their existing right to vote.
“My bill provides an opportunity to quickly and simply ensure all non-residential voters can exercise their existing right to vote and I urge the government to support it.”
Concerns have also been raised by Independent City of Sydney Councillor and Small Business owner Angela Vithoulkas HERE.