In South Ward CRAG supports

Eva Campbell Independents

EVA CAMPBELL, a genuine independent who unfailingly serves the community in many capacities  and who has over 20 years of experience as Councillor and Mayor.

See more about Eva on her website at

KEITH HART, a genuine independent who has previously served on Council and can bring much needed and relevant expertise to Council’s decision-making

KEITH HART B V Sc, Dip Law, M. Env. Law.

Why I am Standing for the Camden Council Elections on 10 September 2016 for EVA CAMPBELL INDEPENDENTS.

 I came to Camden in 1987 to take up a position as a NSW government veterinarian with the (then) Rural Lands Protection Board. I fell in love with Camden, particularly its unique heritage and Nepean River floodplain location, and I have been fighting to preserve the town character from inappropriate development ever since.

In the late 1980s, Camden Residents’ Action Group (CRAG) was reformed to oppose some unsympathetic proposed developments which threatened to destroy the character of the town. At its peak, CRAG had a membership of over 300 – even Dr Liz Kernohan, Mayor of Camden, was a member!

At the Camden Council elections of 1991, I stood for Council as a CRAG candidate on a platform of preserving Camden’s unique heritage. I was elected, and served one term from 1991 to 1995. The developers didn’t like me much, and I was unsuccessful in being re-elected in 1995 (the year Eva Campbell was elected to Council).  Being a Camden Councillor was a very enjoyable experience back then. There were no party politics like there are now – the Councillors were all independents, and every issue was assessed on its merits without any party political agenda. If you could persuade four out of eight other councillors to agree to your point of view, you won the vote, and I was often able to do this, especially on planning and heritage issues.

I do not belong to any political party and have no intention of joining one in the future. That is why I claim to be a ‘genuine independent’ candidate for the Camden Council elections. After my term on Camden Council, I was President of CRAG for a couple of years. I also studied law part-time and became an Environmental Lawyer, being admitted to the Supreme Court of NSW in April 2014. This will be a very useful skill to have if I am elected to Camden Council again.

I have been very upset over the last four years to see the way Camden Council has been mismanaged by what seems to be a party political dictatorship. The ruling bloc of five out of nine councillors always votes the same way, shutting out the democratic representations of genuinely independent councillors. In my opinion, democracy no longer exists at the local government level in Camden. The ruling bloc have no sympathy for preserving Camden’s heritage and character, and are actively pursuing changes in the height and heritage planning controls which have protected Camden from over-development in the past. Genuine public consultation is a thing of the past in Camden – any so-called ‘consultation’ is token at best. One of the purposes of the NSW Local Government Act is to encourage and assist the effective participation of local communities in the affairs of Local Government. In my opinion, this has not applied to the ‘relationship’ of Camden Council with its community over the past four years.

I am standing as a Councillor for Camden South Ward because I believe that the heritage and character of Camden are under greater threat than at any time since the early 1990s. If elected, I will:

  • Vote against the erection of the proposed Oxley Street car park. There are other car parking options in Camden that need to be pursued which are consistent with the town’s heritage character.
  • Oppose the proposed over-development of the old Camden Milk Depot at the strategic entry to Camden, while pursuing sensible development options which will preserve and enhance the heritage character of the building.
  • Call for a financial accounting of the shambles that Council calls the Camden Town Centre ‘improvements’.
  • Reject any so-called ‘vision for Camden’ which increases the building height limits and overrides heritage protection
  • Oppose any further development in the Nepean River flood plain and remove any delegated authority allowing planning staff to approve such developments (this is the policy which was in place in the 1991-1995 Camden Council).
  • Take an active interest in the health of the Nepean River and in the sand extraction activities on its banks.
  • Work constructively with NSW Government planning authorities in the urban development of our former greenfield areas. I acknowledge that Camden LGA has to do its share of accommodating Sydney’s population growth, and we are one of the fastest growing local government areas in the State. I completely reject the claim that this is a reason for changing the development rules applying to the Camden Town Centre Conservation area.

Eva Campbell has proved to be an outstanding genuinely independent Camden Councillor over the last 20 years. We share many of the same views about Camden and its community. If elected, I pledge my support on Council to Eva, including for the position of Mayor, a role which she has successfully performed in the past.

Under the local government voting rules in NSW, electors have a choice of voting above or below the line on the ballot paper. A lot of people will just vote ‘1’ above the line for the Eva Campbell Independents group, and those votes will go to Eva. However, votes below the line count for more if you are #2 on the ticket. To help get me elected in second place on the Eva Campbell Independents’ ticket so I can support Eva on Council, I am asking voters to:

Vote below the line

                                                1        Keith Hart

                                                2        Eva Campbell

                                                3        Maryann Turner

                                                4        Henry Lewocki

 If I am unsuccessful and am eliminated during the vote counting process, Eva will get my votes; therefore a vote for me is also a vote for Eva.

Thank you for your consideration

Keith Hart


Last updated 8 August 2016