Extra clout on street eyesores

IT APPEARS the traditional local government abatement notice is about to become a lot scarier.

Legislation due in State Parliament next year will empower councils to force the removal of household eyesores like derelict vehicles, old washing machines and other discarded items lying around a residence.

Rubbish left in a grass area undoubtedly causes an excess of growth in summer and a bad impact on the values of neighbouring houses.

It will be costly for battlers, who lack the money or the means to remove large discarded possessions from the home.

In some cases it is equally tough on the neighbourhood when a house in the street resembles a rubbish dump.

Currently, a council can issue an abatement notice for untidy premises and, if the notice is not complied with, the council can unilaterally order the clean-up done, at the owner's expense.

The reforms will presumably empower councils to have eyesores removed and owners or occupiers penalised.

The danger is councils may use the new by-law as a revenue-raiser, while possessing more intervention powers over ratepayers and renters than ever before.

Hopefully the laws will provide a reasonable balance between council and residential rights.

US elections

THE race for the White House has underpinned the health and righteousness of western democracies.

Unlike a large slice of the world, we can still change leaders and governments without a shot being fired.

Our elections in the West are mostly free of corruption and devoid of intimidation and violence.

They may be expensively presidential, in the US, Britain, Canada and Australia, but our elections are still based on a contest of ideas and leadership, rather than power emanating from the barrel of a gun.

In the Middle East many regard America as the Great Satan, but it is a popularly elected and accountable Great Satan, providing its people with a far greater sense of justice and peace than those unstable countries hypocritically making such extravagant claims, with their tin pot dictatorships.

- BARRY PRISMALL, deputy editor

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