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By Luke Voogt

New investigative powers could have prevented the mass sacking of Geelong’s council, according to Victoria’s Chief Municipal Inspector.
Legislation at the time prevented state investigations of bullying at City Hall from referring complaints to the Local Government Inspectorate, David Wolf said.
But now the inspectorate could investigate individual complaints under the Local Government Act, which would have prevented the April 2016 sacking, he said.
“The objective of the new framework is earlier intervention to deal with individual cases before they become a bigger issue.”
The Indy reported in January that a state-appointed panel had upheld four bullying complaints, leading to the departure of “several” people from City Hall.
The inspectorate received no reports of breaches by any of the councillors recontesting, Mr Wolf said.
But Geelong voters appeared “split” on whether to re-elected them, he said.
Mr Wolf encouraged voters to check candidates’ credentials online and to beware of dummy candidates before casting postal votes.
“The electorate is pretty savvy,” he said.
“Voters are pretty conscious of genuine candidates and less-genuine candidates.”

  • advocate

    The problem with the government sacking all councillors was that guilty or innocent alike were sacked and the public were never advised who were the guilty ones. As consequence any ex councillor is potentially tainted and will have their work cut out to prove their innocence. The job was only half done anyway as few of those working in council management have been sacked and the same if they have been sacked then any of them can potentially put their hand up as a would be nomination. The appointment of the administrators has been a dismal failure as it is nosiness as usual with the approval of big project funding; the locking down of the CBD while council build its beautification scheme without thorough consultation with the stakeholders as to whether it is appropriate. Businesses have been charged I understand a $700 levy to make the CBD viable and at the same time are proposing to remove the council multistorey and turn them into apartments. Not exactly what I would consider as providing local government services; more like an investor trying to use public amenities and funds to generate revenue. The CBD is discriminated against as it is the only area within the CoGG boundaries that customers and business have to pay parking fees. The CBD has been charged a $300 or thereabouts levy to make it viable before the $700 without any results except potentially vested interests of a few and not for the small businesses. This latest fiasco has resulted on staff being put down and some trade up to 80% has disappeared while council plays beautification specialists. Johnson Park? Another project. If council is in financial difficulties and according to some of its own media blurb claims it cannot pay bills and needs to increase rates, etc. The administrators should have suspended or stopped major projects and reined in spaning until it worked out the real position because on the other hand CoGG claims a surplus. If it has a surplus why hasn’t this been sued to pay down its borrowing. There needs to be more public consultation. Not the sort of consultation where council states what it proposes to do but real consultation with the people of Geelong; residents as well as business community.

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