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Ratepayers unite

Friday, 19th July, 2013

Hugh Gough is never short of an opinion, but he doesn’t want to take the reins of the proposed Ratepayers Association. Hugh Gough is never short of an opinion, but he doesn’t want to take the reins of the proposed Ratepayers Association.

By Erica Visser

Bed and breakfast owner Hugh Gough is a man on a mission - but it’s not to destroy City Council, he says.

Mr Gough has organised a public meeting for next Tuesday in the hope that a Ratepayers Association might be formed to help the city prosper during hard economic times.

Mr Gough said he did not want to play a formal role within the Association and would “take a step back” once others showed interest.

He had even offered his registered domain name, ‘brokenhillratepayers.com.au’, to the cause.

Mr Gough said that the public had been sitting back and watching decisions made on its behalf by Council for long enough.

He hoped that a structured association would provide a way for the community to interact and make a difference.

“The first meeting will be designed to elect an executive of people passionate about seeing Broken Hill prosper into the future,” Mr Gough said.

“We should formally elect a president, secretary, treasurer and a number of officer roles.

“I don’t want a role in it, I don’t want to be seen as a smart arse from ‘away’.

“I would encourage councillors to have an involvement with the association.

“This should be used as a mechanism to keep in touch with the people who were voted in in the first place.”

Mr Gough said that the ratepayers needed to continue to challenge Council as it was making it “harder and harder and harder” to run a business in the city.

“Council has said that the shifting of rates is not a rate rise. Well, for me as a business owner, it is; I have a rate rise of 20 per cent.”

But he said that the association would not be restricted to financial issues.

“It needs to be designed to help develop tourism as an industry in Broken Hill.

“Describing Broken Hill as a ‘lost world’ is, to me, offensive ... it’s a great place.

“Let’s get the place recognised in its rightful role in history.”

The meeting will be held at the Centre for Community at 6pm on Tuesday.

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