Liberal Member for Western Victoria, Simon Ramsay, believes the time is up for the Victorian Government’s appointed Monitors overseeing the City of Greater Geelong.
The monitors, Jude Munro and Peter Dorling, were appointed by the Andrews Government to observe the newly-elected Geelong Council in November last year. The election followed a period of administration brought about by the Government’s sacking of the previous Mayor and Council.
Mr Ramsay said the Council now deserves to be left alone.
“It seems to me that this Council is being very proactive and working hard to get results on issues that have plagued previous councils for years – the saleyards, the post office, the Geelong jail,” he said.
“It is as active and competent as any other council operating without monitors.
“It makes one think that the monitors are merely acting as Government ‘spies’ – the eyes and ears for the Government behind closed doors, especially in an election year.”
Mr Ramsay said a recent FOI request by councillor, Eddy Kontelj, had shown the monitors had provided no reports to the Local Government Minister since their appointment.
“It is quite an extraordinary situation made worse by the fact that they are being paid very handsomely despite their silence.
“Each is paid $1300 a day, that’s $2600 a week and almost $140,000 a year for a two-day-a-week job.”
Mr Ramsay has told the Victorian Parliament that the Minister for Local Government, Natalie Hutchins, must relieve the monitors of their duties.
“This is no disrespect to the monitors as individuals, but their roles are no longer required.
“Without intervention or action by the monitors, it seems pretty clear that the Council is doing just fine without their input.
“With a new CEO in place, it’s time to let the Council be independent.
“Martin Cutter needs to be given clean air to enable him to restructure the Council without prying eyes from Spring Street looking on.
“Having said that, Mr Cutter may also take the opportunity to encourage Council representatives to spend more time on Australian shores and less time notching up frequent flier points.”