SHOALHAVEN councillor Andrew Guile says he will not be silenced following a stinging rebuke by Gilmore MP Ann Sudmalis on local radio station 2ST last week.
Speaking to morning host Barry Mac, Mrs Sudmalis accused Cr Guile of speaking out of turn when he earlier foreshadowed amendments to federal legislation that would remove barriers to the North Nowra link road route through Bomaderry Regional Park.
“I just happen to be the federal member and I’m the conduit to the federal government and as far as I understand it Andrew has status as a lobbyist for the private education sector when he goes to Canberra,” she said.
“He may have some representation rights in some committees elsewhere but certainly not with the federal government.
She said legislative changes were the subject of “very responsible negotiations” between the federal and state governments and “absolutely not the responsibility of Shoalhaven councillors”.
“They are actually in a very difficult space by misrepresenting to the community that they have any status in this regard whatsoever.
“How dare they anticipate legislation that hasn’t been voted on yet.
“I am quite astonished that the Member for Gilmore would use part of a useful discussion with Barry Mac on economic growth for the Shoalhaven as the basic for a very personal attack,” Cr Guile responded.
“It was encouraging to hear at the recent South East Australian Transport Strategy (SEATS) meeting, a Victorian Federal Member who talked about amendments being considered to the Federal Biodiversity Conservation Act.
“While there is an important role for such legislation, when it is used to disrupt the provision of essential infrastructure, we clearly need some reform. We all remember the frog issues at South Nowra and the same act stands in the way of the central option for the North Nowra Link Road.
“This is an important issue for the people in my area and generally for the Shoalhaven. Often such issues will involve state and federal legislation and it is right that elected councillors should comment where such legislation directly impacts our local community as it does with the North Nowra Link Road.
“In exercising this role, I am certainly not a mouthpiece for any other elected person and I definitely won’t be told to keep quiet by any of them be they federal, state or local.
“The Member for Gilmore was also quite inaccurate in describing my private employment as that of a ‘lobbyist’ which sounded like some attempt to discredit me. I can confirm that my name does appear on the register of lobbyists.
“Part of my job has been to ensure the continuation of a trade training college providing young people with school based apprenticeships. This has meant some discussion with government on the future direction of policy,” he said.