NGOs essential for sustainable planning, Grech says in response to Valletta protest

Opposition and PN leader Bernard Grech advocates for NGO involvement in achieving 'sustainable planning status quo'

Bernard Grech at Festa Rebbiegħa
Bernard Grech at Festa Rebbiegħa

NGOs should be playing a crucial role in attaining a sustainable planning status quo, Opposition and PN leader Bernard Grech said in response to the demonstration in Valletta against overdevelopment on Saturday.

Speaking at ‘Festa Rebbiegħa’ (Spring fest) in Qrendi on Sunday, Grech expressed his sentiments about the protest and outlined the steps the PN intends to take to address the concerns raised by the organisations. 

“For us, NGOs are part of the solution and not the problem,” he said.

Grech acknowledged the significance of people raising their voices against the current situation, as the quality of life in the country is under threat from “uncontrolled development, relentless traffic, and a corrupt government.”

"We have consistently advocated for the need to amplify the voices of NGOs in planning decisions. Together with governing bodies and relevant authorities, we aim to strike a balance between economic development in the national interest and safeguarding people's health and quality of life," Grech said.

He added that he recently engaged with various NGOs, attentively listening to their concerns and seeking their advice. 

READ MORE: Labour mayors demand planning reform

Grech also addressed the government's “insufficient efforts to mitigate the impact of the cost of living crisis”on the average citizen. 

Reflecting on his own experience of starting a family over two decades ago, he highlighted the flexibility he had in staying at home with his children while his wife pursued full-time employment, even if it meant a potential loss of income. 

However, the current situation no longer allows parents to accept reduced earnings, as many individuals with full-time jobs are compelled to take on additional part-time work to cope with rising prices.

To combat the cost of living crisis at its root, Grech said the PN in government would allocate €40 million to support importers and exporters. 

Additionally, he expressed the party's support for a proposal by UĦM to exempt cost-of-living wage increases from taxes, a measure the government has yet to comment on.

Grech concluded by reiterating the PN's commitment to tackling the challenges faced by the people and striving for a fair and prosperous society.