Dr Richard Gates,
Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome Committee Inc
Richmond Valley Council has a long history of ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’ or ‘rent seeking’ in economic terms.
Rent-seeking takes resources from one group to advantage another.
The latest piece of rent seeking is the deal being stitched up by the general manager of Richmond Valley Council with RSL LifeCare to build a retirement village complex on the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome.
The land is being given away at a bargain-basement price and RSL LifeCare has done a deal to sell off 24 blocks of land separate from the development on the grounds that their proposal is not economically viable, an interesting argument for an organisation with a surplus of $18 million last year.
Council’s general manager is also stitching up a thrifty concessions deal on developer contributions.
This is all being done behind closed doors, a standard rent-seeking tactic to keep ratepayers from knowing until it’s too late.
Expensive hired guns negotiate the deal. Some of them are almost entirely dependent on RSL LifeCare work at our expense. Whose interests are they serving?
The rent-seeking process is washed in moral rhetoric using the RSL name to intimidate public dissent.
There’s no question our veterans should be looked after with nursing home facilities seven per cent of the site.
But why are local ratepayers being sacrificed for the rest? Where is Council’s business plan and why is there no transparency? Rent seeking of course!