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Councillors frustrated by round table push

AN urgent meeting held by South Gippsland Shire Council to reconsider establishing a peak group in Leongatha similar to the successful Korumburra Round Table has been labelled a waste of time.
At the March council meeting, Cr Don Hill asked council to see if the community wanted a round table, but his motion was not supported.
Crs Hill, Andrew McEwen and Jeremy Rich called for a special urgent meeting of council last Wednesday to consider the proposal further and council voted to reconsider it at its April 26 meeting.
Cr Alyson Skinner said the matter was not urgent and labelled last Wednesday’s meeting “a waste of time and resources”.
“I don’t believe this is a matter that needs to have an urgent special council meeting. We already decided on it,” she said.
Crs Maxine Kiel and Ray Argento agreed.
“The original motion was defeated. This is a waste of council time and resources,” Cr Kiel said.
Cr Argento said because the motion failed at the March meeting, it had “been dealt with.”
Cr Hill said he was “totally surprised” the motion failed to pass at the March council meeting.
“The reason I am bringing this up as an urgent motion today, is because if we don’t do this today…we will have to wait three months before we could implement it again,” he said.
Cr Hill was disappointed with comments made by several councillors at the March meeting. He also denied criticising the Leongatha Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the meeting.
“I in no way criticised any groups in town, in the report or outside the report. The Leongatha Chamber of Commerce which has been mentioned, is a fine organisation that I have every confidence in,” he said.
Cr Hill said when speaking on the motion at the March meeting, Cr Edwards “made a lot of emotive conversation”.
He said she was “patronising” and “offensive”.
“The report does not give any direction to tell the community how things are to be done. It is purely to give authority to officers to instigate discussions,” he said.
Cr Skinner said council should put resources into its community strengthening strategy.
Cr Hill said Leongatha was the only place in the shire that did not have its own plan or vision.
“If they continue like that as a town, it is going to be harder for us to approve funding for big projects,” he said.
“I implore my fellow councillors to vote for the future of Leongatha here, otherwise you are cutting Leongatha adrift.”
Cr Hill claimed “every other community gets money for those sorts of things”, drawing an audible scoff from Cr Skinner, which was met with a swift rebuttal.
“You have brought up millions of things for your area Cr Skinner, ahead of the council bringing them forward and you have put them to the top of the queue. You have now put Leongatha to the bottom of the queue,” Cr Hill said.
Cr McEwen said Leongatha was disadvantaged by not having a community plan.
“If we vote no to this, we are saying ‘we are going to delay for another three months the ability of our staff to actually talk to the community’,” he said.
Mayor Cr Lorraine Brunt, deputy mayor Cr Aaron Brown and Cr Meg Edwards and CEO Tim Tamlin were absent from the meeting, as they were at the Rural Councils Victoria Conference.
Crs Rich, McEwen and Hill voted for the motion and Crs Skinner, Argento and Kiel voted against.
As chair, Cr Argento voted in favour of the motion.
He said it was in the best interest to bring (the motion) forward to the April meeting to allow the absent councillors to “have that debate then”

Motion passed: South Gippsland Shire Council held a special urgent meeting last Wednesday to further debate a proposal for a Leongatha round table. Cr Alyson Skinner, left, voted against the motion for the round table to be debated at council’s April 26 meeting, while Cr Jeremy Rich voted in favour. The motion was carried.

Short URL: https://thestar.com.au/?p=24697

Posted by on Apr 17 2018. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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