Post No 1 – By Rusty
For the 2017 elections there was a push to get more female candidates. The State Government saw this so important that they provided $5,000 grant to, W.I.L.D, to run seminars and workshop. To compare the last two full council elections and the split on female and male is in the table below:
Why do women not want to participate in the local government democracy? This surely is the grass roots, where the basic issues of our neighbourhood get to be discussed.
I propose that a local government council should reflect the diversity of its constituent electors.
With 53 candidates standing for election in 2017 it will be interesting to see the final mix of Councillors. This time we have returned to the election from the floor for Mayor and Deputy Mayor. It is obvious that a couple of the candidates have stood, with the aim to be Mayor. This is where the race gets interesting. Generally you see deals made to largely prevent a big field from the collection of Councillors. This time it looks likely we will see a number of determined people and sorting out before the ballot will be difficult. Not even the halving of salary allowance will deter those chasing the leader of Civic Geelong.
The declaration of seats before 10 November and the drawing together of the successful candidates on Tuesday 14 November will see this Civic race put before the democratically elected Council.
The candidates are given many opportunities to be heard with several groups putting on forums. Pulse Community Radio 94.7 FM provided a forum to the four wards in the local area of Geelong being spread over two weeks. Mitchells Front Page did a great job drawing this all together with no external funding. All interviews are available to listen to on mitchellsfrontpage.com.
On Tuesday 4 October 2017 the Wards of Bellarine and Windermere were given their say. An observation on the Windermere Ward candidates is that they are very focused on the issues in this Ward. This is both good and bad. The bad is that it will be extremely difficult for the electors to differentiate the candidates and make a decision. The good is that regardless of who is elected the 2 Councillors will be able to work together on the real issues in the Ward. The Bellarine candidates have diversity in views and I feel this is to be expected in this ward. The obvious issue is how the growth on the peninsula will be managed. A number of the candidates are focussed basic Council issues. More from Mitchells Front Page on Tuesday 10 October from 9 AM.
On Tuesday evening 4 October 2017 The Chamber of Commerce gave each candidate 90 sec to sum up their position. 35 of the candidates took this opportunity to reach out to the 950 members of Geelong’s peak business lobby. There were some outstanding candidates in this group, some you would not necessarily be aligned with the business end of town. The Andrew rating of venue on Tuesday evening is 3.0. It was encouraging that the chamber went ahead with this opportunity. This is in sharp contrast to The Committee for Geelong where the candidates briefing, at the Gordon, was cancelled without explanation some weeks back.
The Bellarine community groups are again showing how to get the various community groups together and provide a forum(s) for the candidates to engage with the community and are combining to run forums during October. Anyone on the Bellarine Peninsula has an opportunity to pose a question.
The postal votes will be mailed out from October 10 2017.
Only a few of the candidates have addressed the issue of the amalgamation of administration and civic accommodation. This was a recommendation of the Commission of Inquiry. An important issue to be driven by our newly elected Council.
The current process needs to be stopped and a fresh examination of this vital decision be made in an informed and measured way. It is great to see some candidates coming out and saying that there are alternatives that the recent Officers report did not canvas. I will be calling for ALL of the alternatives to be examined and hence, will be taking advantage of Public Question time (ahead of the changes to this form of democracy early next year) and seeking out the brief that has been issued, internally and externally, from the City of Greater Geelong.
This is amongst a raft of issues that Council will have to either ask for a halt or act on quickly. A number of candidates are not happy with recent decisions taken and there are processes available to examine these decisions. The most critical situation to address when we have the full 4 Ward Council, is to make the Chambers of Council a united and stable decision making group. This City cannot move forward unless we have stability. Stability in our civic leadership is necessary in order for all further actions. The findings of the 30 year vision now called Cleaver and Creative cannot be achieved unless all 11 sit around the table and make for want of a better word the action plan broken down into measurable proper timelines with the resources available. We must now put meat on the bones of this initiative again from the Commission of Inquiry.
Too much has been invested for this document and to quote Bryce Courtney, to be used as a door stop. Stability in the civic leadership and a guiding hand will then enable all of the many other issues easier. Stability in civic leadership will enable business to look at Geelong as a place they will want to do business. It is not Councils role to created jobs. They are involved from a planning and development where they can make sure of proper structural planning. They can of course facilitate and make it easier for business to set up in this region. This means working with all groups and the other 2 levels of government. We have direct access in this city to groups like Barwon Regional Partnership and Regional Development Australia. In later posts I will look at what CoGG can do within the organisation to assist all of the people seeking out there place in Geelong.
The Andrews government has changed the Minister for Local Government. The member for Kororoit, Ms Marlene Kairouz was appointed in September 2017.
Post # 1 – 4/10/17