Ballina Council howls over solar
BALLINA Shire Council yesterday voted to write to NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell expressing concern about plans to slash the money paid for electricity fed into the grid by solar systems.
The State Government plans to cut the price from 60 cents a kilowatt hour to 40 cents.
The council also decided it would write to the Energy Minister and relevant MPs.
Cr Jeff Johnson – who declared a non-pecuniary, non-significant conflict of interest (he works for a company selling solar panels) – brought the matter to the council as a “motion of urgency”.
“This is a very important issue for our state and our community,” he said. “It goes to confidence in government and confidence in future schemes. It sets a bad precedent.”
But Mayor Phillip Silver said it was not the council's responsibility to get involved.
“I don't think it's a terribly good path for local government to go down. Increasingly we are becoming involved in issues which are not part of our charter,” he said.
Cr Alan Brown said retrospective legislation such as that being proposed by the State Government was “wrong in principle and wrong morally”.
“We will only be a voice in the wilderness. But it shows that we have concerns,” he said.