By Luke Voogt
A private lobby has made a last-ditch attempt to delay council elections an extra year just two months before the scheduled poll in October.
Committee for Geelong chief Rebecca Carson last night joined a “large delegation” of members requesting that the State Government extend Geelong’s administrators’ tenure until 2018.
“It’s probably time to have one last look at it,” she said.
The delegation comes after several council hopefuls, including five sacked councillors, publically declared their intent to run in October’s election.
City Hall also began holding Councillor Candidate Information Sessions this week.
But Ms Casson said the administrators required “important time” to implement changes to City Hall, which an Independent Commission of Inquiry described as “dysfunctional”.
The Andrews Government appointed the three administrators after sacking Geelong’s council in April 2016.
The committee originally supported the government’s plan to place council under administration until 2020.
“The Committee for Geelong has never wavered from that,” Ms Casson said.
But the Coalition and the Greens teamed up to force the government to amend the date.
Ms Casson said the parties should take “responsibility if Geelong regresses again” if the election takes place as planned.
But Western Victoria MP Simon Ramsay labelled the comments “ludicrous”.
“It was the current government introduced the structure the government would be working under,” the coalition MP said.
The Andrews Government scrapped the popularly elected mayor and returned the vote to council following the controversial recommendation of the state-commissioned Geelong Citizens’ Jury.
Mr Ramsay said the coalition would meet with the committee but Geelong was “ready for an election in October.”
Fellow coalition MP Andrew Katos said the opposition would not to waver on its position.
“We believe that democracy should be restored as soon as possible.”
The delegation came as Geelong’s administrators reported to Victorian Parliament on their progress to date.
Local Government Minister Natalie Hutchins foreshadowed the election would go forward on 28 October 2017 as planned despite the committee delegation.
“The Andrews Labor Government is committed to fulfilling its promise to Geelong ratepayers and ensuring they get the council they deserve,” she said.
“The Geelong council legislation states that an election will proceed in October this year.”