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August 16, 2022

Higginson MLC: ‘Lismore Mayor’s position untenable’

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Lismore resident Sue Higginson MLC. Photo Tree Faerie.

Greens NSW MP and Lismore Resident Sue Higginson MLC, says our community has faced devastation on an unprecedented scale and we need a local leader who believes in our community, understands the systems of governance in NSW and has a clear vision of our recovery, as complex as it is.

Ms Higginson said Lismore Mayor Steve Krieg’s call for his own Council to be sacked and replaced with an autocratic administrator following the catastrophic floods that struck Lismore in March of this year, comes despite his council ticket winning a working majority at the NSW Local Government elections in December last year and are completely contrary to community expectations of elected representatives.

Dismayed by Four Corners interview

‘I was dismayed when I watched the Four Corners program on ABC and saw Mayor Krieg calling for his own council to be sacked in favour of an autocratic administrator. We have all experienced trauma from these floods and I recognise that the Mayor has suffered enormous loss but it is wildly inappropriate for an elected representative to walk away from democracy because he personally is unable to process and navigate the work that needs to be done through council.

‘Council, as the democratic institution closest to our community, plays an essential role in our recovery, if Mayor Kreig can’t see that, which he has now publicly disclosed he can’t, we are in trouble.’

Leaders who understand the depth of problems

Ms Higginson says Lismore needs local leaders who understand the depth of the problems. ‘That includes the science of climate change, and who are able to take the reins and gallop us through our recovery, our rebuild and our adaptation.

‘Mayor Krieg was elected with a working majority before the catastrophic weather event that changed everything forever. It is fair enough that he is not able to cope with what he now faces. However, the right thing to do is to step aside so that the Councillors who are able to do the work and lead can get onto it.’

Councillor Guise put up a motion seeking that the Mayor step aside, naturally, that motion was defeated,’ said Ms Higginson. ‘The fact remains the Mayor of Lismore stated on the national stage that he thinks that the Lismore Council should be sacked and replaced with an autocrat. Lismore has been shattered. We need a Mayor who believes in our Council and the Councillors our community elected to represent them.

Mayor has experienced significant loss

‘The Mayor has experienced significant loss along with so many. However, his vision of sacking Council is so concerning. If that’s what the Mayor wants I don’t see how his position as a Mayor is tenable. You can’t put the genie back in the bottle.

‘Lismore needs a Mayor who understands the role of Council and who can unify people. Right now Lismore needs more representatives, advocates and leaders who want to help us through our recovery, not less.’


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19 COMMENTS

  1. I feel Sue Higginson, Greens MP by default, has mis-read the situation and is intentionally sowing community division.
    Throwing her hat into the ring and criticising Mayor King is politically motivated – definitely un-helpful for the majority of ratepayers.
    Who wouldn’t feel frustrated by the actions of her green pals during LCC meetings recently ?
    Good strategy though – Divide and Rule.
    Oh – for the good old days of green domination over Lismore Council !

      • Yes, I did Joachim.
        I also trawled through the full but rather biased verbatim report of the LCC Meetings.
        The massive task to restore Lismore is a daunting one – anyone in charge would feel that keenly.
        But the overall situation is not improved by activist political division and partisan sniping.

  2. The majority of ratepayers who pay Council’s wages
    are not impressed with what looks & sounds like a
    no-can-do Mayor & his fellow followers.

    • Stefanie – how many % of ratepayers you say are ‘not impressed’ ?
      Oh yes – I know.
      87% of your survey participants !

  3. Those who think the progressives( Greens, ALP and SF) are the problem need to think back to the 2017 flood when the aforementioned confidently led the recovery, hampered throughout by the LNP state government. Mayor Isaac Smith’s positive leadership at that time contrasts markedly with that of the current mayor. The current progressives who were on that Council proved their dedication to the city and the rate payers.
    The current Mayor has thrown in the towel, he needs to resign for his health’s sake and the sake of all those who elected the council.
    Ms Higginson seems to have grasped the obvious whereas some readers see enemies who do not exist.

  4. I don’t know the details but could it be that the Mayor is expressing his exasperation with a deeply divided council that has resulted in inaction because no agreement on what to do can be reached?

  5. We need real solutions to Lismore’s flood problems.So many people are traumatised and even homeless now.
    The entire council must be unified to work together for a better future for Lismore.
    It’s not up to the mayor alone.

  6. I have watched the Mayor with sadness and concern ever since the flood. He is clearly traumatised, and my heart goes out to him as a fellow sufferer. He appears to be totally out of his depth and I think he needs to take time out to heal. No one could have known what they were signing up for before the mega-flood; and party politics aside, the Sheriff is right in saying we had, and still have, councilors who are better suited to take on the job of representing our community and coordinating the recovery.
    There is no shame in recognising this and acting accordingly.
    I applaud Sue Higginson for raising this delicate matter.

  7. Clearly Steve Krieg needs to step aside from leading the council he says should be sacked.

    But equally clearly he is right that Lismore cannot fix this problem – the scale of the problem is far beyond the means of the ratepayers.

    Sue Higginson, and indeed all of us, need to be focused on discussing how to address the problem. In detail and costed solutions. Not with slogans or divisive partisan thinking and positions.

    Only the state can fix Lismore’s problem, and all parties need to work together to create an agreed and workable plan to, humbly, take to the state to seek funds to implement

  8. 10 years of hopeless greens dominated lismore council, where nothing got done, huge debts and with minimal affordable housing, minimal planning for floods etc, and this is why the greens were turfed out and Steve’s team got voted in. its called democracy. Many like myself ditched the greens we could see lismore council going down the drain.

    This echo article is highly politically biased towards the greens, just as all of Eve’s articles are.

    The reason why Steve has done things the way he has and said things he has is because the Reconstruction Commission is taking on the role of rebuilding lismore, land swaps, flood works. IF we hand this power back to lismore council, we will get another 10 years of nothing happening, is this what we want? sometimes we must give power to someone to make the hard decisions, not everyone will win but strategically the best decisions need to be made for the greater community.

    Democracy is happening by his team getting voted in to get things done, to get things done in this instance is to let the reconstruction commission do their job, that is make the big decisions about flood recovery NOT the Council who have been hopeless for the last decade.

    And no I am not a NAT supported, I have been a greens member for 25 years until 5 years ago when the pathway they have taken has led to anti-everything status where nothing gets done other thank talk fests and feel good policies.

    Steve has the majority support behind him in Lismore for letting the reconstruction commission forge ahead, you will see this at the next local election. The noisy greens supported by the echo should embrace action instead of playing politics, the people of Lismore want things to happen not go buzzing around a council chamber for years…

    Look at the following article published today, I have not seen the Echo reference this yet…so bloody biased

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-07-16/buyback-options-for-northern-rivers-flood-zone/101242508

    • Hey Mick, take it easy on Eve Jeffery – she did ONE outstanding non-biased article on Lawrence Museum recently, even adding to it via some useful ‘comments’ !
      [Abnormally, this was a good article & great for regional tourism too – so let’s have more non-partisan articles like this, rather than her usual divisive angles chosen .]

  9. The 2017 flood was quite damaging & the locals I know stepped up
    along side the city’s Council members & business people. Many
    supported those wiped-out for months until Lismore got back on
    its feet. Isaac Smith’s troupers did what needed to be done. Yes,
    good leadership is paramount.

  10. I believe all who have endured life in Lismore over the last five years , since Cyclone Debbie , are truly traumatised and have witnessed the council incapable of dealing appropriately with any of it . The damage from Debbie is still yet to be addressed , as the council had no contingency planning and dealt with that catastrophe on the basis of what came through the door first, leaving much still to be addressed. Millions of dollars donated for the flood affected community were randomly allocated to some victims , all within the Lismore city limits, because the council were too incompetent to assess where the real damage occurred.
    There were the fires and then these two floods, that have annihilated what was left of Lismore. Just driving through the town is devastating and the task of reconstruction is , and always has been, way beyond the capabilities of the usual suspect bunch of opportunists and a Mayor elected on the strength of nothing more than a lot of posters.
    Of course Steve Krieg and the council are totally out of their depth, and have my sympathy, but the idea that this incapable NSW state government is any more able to deal with anything but corruption and their backhanders would be stretching credibility to the limit.
    The same people who were forced to clean up after the inadequacies of the SES and RFS, will have to face this mammoth undertaking if Lismore is to survive in the face of Global Climate Catastrophe, and that is the PEOPLE .
    The same ones that always end up paying the price for politics in this country.
    Cheers, G”)

  11. I didn’t read the article but…if Sue Higginson is standing for Mayor…she gets my vote!…If she can’t do it …no one can…but then…its never up to one person…it takes a whole team…hopefully Kreig n Vanessa will still be there…and Adam Guise,Simon as well…with the support from local community…build back better!…c mon,you can do it!!!…and liberate some of that cow land for housing and organic,vegan food whilst yr at it…love you Lismore!

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