Member for Western Victoria, Simon Ramsay, called on the Minister for Local Government, Ms Natalie Hutchins, to conduct a review of governance at the City of Greater Geelong Council.
Mr Ramsay said that under the current legislation, the City of Greater Geelong Amendment Act 2012, which facilitated a directly elected mayor for Geelong, an electoral representation review needs to be undertaken by the Victorian Electoral Commission prior to the general election in 2016.
“When in Government, the Coalition promised a review of the model in early 2014, given the criticisms of the current system and the concerns raised by both directly elected mayors, Keith Fagg and Darryn Lyons, that modifications were needed to provide more autonomy and support to carry out the mayor’s and council’s agenda.
“The City of Greater Geelong Amendment Act was introduced on the back of an election commitment by the Liberal Party in the lead-up to the 2006 election and again in 2010, after significant consultation with the Geelong community, and I congratulate the current shadow Minister for Finance, the member for Mornington in the Assembly, David Morris, on his work in this area,” Mr Ramsay said.
“The legislation was structured in line with the community’s expectations of a directly elected mayor and the election of 12 ward councillors.
“It has been two years since the legislation came into force and the structure has been tested”.
“Advice given to me shows the current structure has been found to be wanting,” Mr Ramsay said.
Mr Ramsay said the two mayors who were elected under the new structure have called for significant reforms and modifications to the current legislation to improve the governance and management of the council and the authority of the mayor.
“It is pleasing to note that the Opposition’s Local Government spokesperson at the time, now the Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne, said Labor supported a model of a directly elected mayor for Geelong and that the model needed improving.
“I now seek a commitment from the Minister for Local Government that in fact the Government will conduct a review and that it will further consult the Geelong community about improving the model so as to allow the Mayor to undertake an agenda, as elected to do.
“This review would be separate from the internal review being conducted by the CEO, Gillian Miles, into accusations of bullying, which is appropriate for her to do as the new CEO,” Mr Ramsay said.