Alex de Vos
A public meeting has demanded to know why Labor MP Lisa Neville has “backflipped” on plans for a new Bellarine Peninsula shire.
Participants wanted an exp-lanation for Ms Neville opposing the plan after promising to survey residents on a shire split before the last state election.
Ms Neville said in a front page Independent report in November, 2002, that a review would go ahead amid “mounting dissatisfaction” with City of Greater Geelong.
In 2002 she said peninsula residents considered the council too city-focussed and that they were not getting a worthwhile return on their rates.
But this year she has dismissed a Liberal policy to give residents a vote on whether to form a new peninsula council.
She has warned a new council would be too costly and would push up rates bills by more than $660.
Ocean Grove and District Community Association secretary Tony Potter produced a copy of the 2002 front page carrying the survey promise story.
He demanded to know why Ms Neville now opposed a new council.
She attributed her change of heart to extra information since the election.
“You don’t have the same access to information about financial implications as a candidate,” she said.
“Once I became a member I looked at it (splitting the councils) and realised it would be hard to pull apart without costing a lot for the community.”
However, residents at the public meeting said Ms Neville’s calculations on potential rate increases of more than $660 were “rubbish”.
“I don’t see value for money under the current system and there is no way Ms Neville’s rate predictions would happen,” a resident said.
Liberal candidate for Bellarine Don Gibson, who attended the meeting, said Ms Neville had “backflipped” on a new peninsula council.
He revealed in the Independent last month that the Liberals would hold the shire split vote if they won next month’s state election.
A street poll for last week’s Independent found only support for a new shire among shoppers at Drysdale and Ocean Grove.
Alex de Vos