Ratepayer backlash


Ratepayer backlash

A RECORD field of candidates will contest next month’s South Gippsland Shire Council elections in what could be a sign the community is fed up with the current council.

At the close of nominations last Tuesday, September 20, 32 candidates had nominated in South Gippsland Shire and 24 in Bass Coast.

The fields of candidates were the biggest seen in South Gippsland Shire since the new shire was formed in 1994.

At the last election in 2012 election, 13 candidates stood in South Gippsland Shire and 26 in Bass Coast Shire.

South Gippsland Shire Council has been plagued by in-fighting among councillors, while Bass Coast Shire Council has made many controversial decisions, most recently voting to close the Inverloch transfer station.

Ian Nicholas, a candidate in South Gippsland’s Strzelecki Ward and a former council employee, said many people were unhappy with the current council’s performance.

“The council has committed to spending $30 million on a municipal precinct that is not required,” the Outtrim man said.

“The farce with the caravan parks is probably on a lot of people’s minds and I just think the council has not done enough to look at the cost of the bureaucracy.”

Mr Nicholas felt the CEO’s package of $300,000 was “on the nose”.

“The general staffing is okay but it’s the amount of management they think they need to manage the staff,” he said.

“It is just costing too much money for very little return.”

Coastal-Promontory Ward candidate Matt Sherry of Port Franklin said the current council had not performed.

“The high rates and lack of transparency and accountability are the main reasons,” he said.

Tarwin Valley Ward candidate Meg Edwards felt the number of candidates reflected the many people who cared about the shire’s future.

“I would like to work with them either as a councillor as a fellow community member,” she said.

Strzelecki Ward candidate Aaron Brown of Wattle Bank believed there was mood for change.

“Some of the towns are looking a bit tired. There is still a lot of economic stagnation and different people think a new council would contribute different ideas,” he said.

Tarwin Valley Ward candidate Ben Corcoran of Leongatha believed voters wanted new councillors.

“People want to see the council work together with the community to get the job done,” he said.

Cr Kieran Kennedy, the only South Gippsland councillor to not renominate, felt the large pool of candidates reflected community opposition to the proposed new council offices. Many candidates have vowed to abandon the project.

As for whether the community was fed up with the existing council, Cr Kennedy said that would be determined by the election.

In Bass Coast, Bunurong candidate Mark Robertson believed interest was high due to the new wards.

“I don’t know how much difference having nine councillors will make but having more people actively representing an area can only be a good thing,” he said.

“The community seems to have an ‘us versus them’ view of the council, so having more people showing community interest is a wonderful thing.”

Fellow Bunurong candidate Peter Dalmau said the large pool of candidates was inspired by the lack of consultation and poor decision making by the council.

Mr Dalmau was a councillor with the former Shire of Woorayl and believed having more councillors per ward would benefit the shire.

“Right now we have a situation where councillors are either incompetent or pushing their own agendas on their wards,” he said.

“I am hopeful – due to the nature of the people who are standing – the council will operate efficiently after this election. There is a balance of candidates with experience and candidates with vitality and connections which will create better outcomes.”

Voting papers will be mailed to voters from October 4. Voting closes at 6pm Friday, October 21.

All elections will be declared by Friday, November 4.

Vote for us: from left, South Gippsland Shire Council candidates at the ballot draw in Leongatha last Tuesday, September 20, Ben Corcoran, Philip Murphy, Ian Nicholas, Aaron Brown and Andrew McEwen.

Vote for us: from left, South Gippsland Shire Council candidates at the ballot draw in Leongatha last Tuesday, September 20, Ben Corcoran, Philip Murphy, Ian Nicholas, Aaron Brown and Andrew McEwen.

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Posted by on Sep 27 2016. 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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