The Drysdale & Clifton Springs Community Association Inc. (DCSCA) has made a Preliminary Submission to a Review of the City of Greater Geelong Council's structure being conducted by the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC).
The VEC's Review originated in a 2012 amendment to the City of Greater Geelong Act (1993). The amendment created the post of directly-elected Mayor of Geelong, resulting in a council of 12 councillors plus the Mayor for the 2012 council election.
The amendment also required the VEC to conduct an Electoral Representation Review before the 2016 council election; and, drawing on that Review, to recommend to the Minister for Local Government the most appropriate electoral structure for the council from the 2016 election onwards.
The Review should determine the number of councillors (between 4 and 11, plus the Mayor) and how they should be distributed.
Key dates in the Review
11 November 2015 Preliminary public submissions open
9 December 2015 (5.00pm) Closing date for preliminary public submissions
20 January 2016 Preliminary Report published; response submissions open
17 February 2016 (5.00pm) Closing date for response submissions
24 February 2016 Public hearing: 7.00 pm Council Chamber, City Hall
16 March 2016 Final Report published.
Making submission to the Review
Submissions to the VEC Electoral Representation Review can be made via:
· VEC’s online submission form at vec.vic.gov.au
Email at email@example.com
· Post to VEC, Level 11, 530 Collins St., Melbourne 3000
All submissions will be published on the VEC website at vec.vic.gov.au and made available for inspection at the VEC office (Level 11, 530 Collins Street, Melbourne).
The Final Report will be available from the VEC (vec.vic.gov.au or 131 832) and will also be available for inspection at Council offices.
The Drysdale & Clifton Springs Community Association Inc. (DCSCA) was created in 1996. Since then, its relationships – good and bad – with the City of Greater Geelong have led it to believe that:
· the northern part of the Bellarine Peninsula (Drysdale, Clifton Springs and Curlewis) is, broadly speaking, a single, geographically defined ‘community of interest’ within the City of Greater Geelong
· dividing the task of representing this single community of interest between two councillors in two wards – Cheetham and Coryule - has prevented this single community from speaking with a single voice about its views, interests and aspirations
· the absence of a single voice for this community of interest has led to it receiving an inequitable share of council resources.
More broadly, DCSCA’s relationships with the City of Greater Geelong have led it to believe that:
· the council’s current structure makes it is impossible for a ward constituency to hold its councillor to account for her/his actions (or lack of them)
· relying on 4-yearly elections to make a councillor accountable enables them – if they wish - to misrepresent their constituency during their 4-year term of office, which may lead to outcomes (e.g. rezoning, building approvals) that cannot be undone, even if they fail to be re-elected.