Council responds to Englehardt Street petitioners

01 May 2014

AlburyCity has responded to the organisers of a petition tabled at the March Council Meeting regarding the Fertility Control Clinic in Englehardt Street, Albury.

The petition sought a number of actions from Council and the response outlines why AlburyCity is unable to facilitate or act on their requests.

Council reinforced earlier advice that a local policy introducing a form of exclusion zone on a public road is not supported by the NSW Local Government Act and urged the petitioners to take up their cause with the State Government.

“Quite simply, what they are asking us to do we do not have the legal power to provide. As stated many times already this is an issue that needs to be addressed by the State Government,” AlburyCity Mayor Cr Kevin Mack said. “The protestors are gathering on a public road and the NSW Local Government Act does not provide the power for Council to restrain or control protests in these locations.”

“In order for us to develop a new local policy that provides for a type of targeted exclusion zone, as suggested in the petition, it would require a change to the Local Government Act. The State Government is the only tier of government capable of enacting such change.”

Mayor Mack said that a similar case involving Melbourne City Council could not be applied to the circumstances in Albury.

“Parallels between Melbourne City Council’s situation and our situation in Albury are not relevant. Victorian legislation requires councils to abate public nuisances in their local areas. Those same provisions do not exist in the NSW Local Government Act.”

Mayor Mack also confirmed that Council has consulted with the Albury Local Area Command on this matter with specific reference to the concerns raised in the petition. Council has been assured by the Albury Local Area Command that they are the most appropriate regulatory authority to deal with complaints regarding the behaviour of protestors and they remain available to consult with any member of the community to discuss any issues or concerns.

“Anyone accessing the clinic who feels harassed or intimidated is advised to call the police immediately,” Mayor Mack continued.

A report regarding this matter will be presented to the May Planning and Development Committee for noting.