Below is a statement from Liberal Member for Western Victoria, Simon Ramsay, penned in Parliament House last night (Thursday).
“Tonight in the Legislative Council the City of Greater Geelong Amendment Bill 2017 was passed without Amendment.
“The Liberal-Nationals Opposition sought to amend the bill to have the City of Greater Geelong formally recognised as Victoria’s second city and allow enrolled voters in the municipality to directly-elect their mayor and deputy mayor.
“This was not supported by the Australian Labor Party or the Greens.
“Despite guidance from a Citizens Jury, which acted in good faith while nonetheless working within the parameters the Andrews Government had set, tonight the Andrews Government has both denied the right of Greater Geelong voters to directly elect their municipal leaders and robbed them of the opportunity to see Geelong legislated as Victoria’s second city.
“The Andrews Government has also denied the people of Greater Geelong the opportunity to have an independent body like the Victorian Electoral Commission define the internal electoral or “ward” boundaries of their city.
“I do appreciate the work done by participants in the Citizens Jury, given the constraints they were put under and I also acknowledge the effort of our Administrators to prepare the city for municipal elections due this October.
“My hope is that we will get a good field of fresh faces to stand for seats on the new council, candidates who have at heart the best interests of the community they want to represent rather than the self-interest that in the past had plagued our council for many years.”