Concern from council on campaigning

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FRANKSTON Council will write to VicRoads to express their “grave concern that a government authority sees fit to grant consent for reserves under its control being used for candidate electoral signage” in the lead up to the 24 November state election.

The motion to write the letter was moved as a matter of urgent business by Cr Glenn Aitken at the 19 November meeting.

“Council is of the view that government agencies or authorities should be seen as impartial politically,” Cr Aitken said.

“There is a member of parliament who has had signage put up in a number of locations that have been brought to my attention by people. These signs, some of them very large, have been located on the verge of roads on public land. I hounded that issue throughout last week and our officers responded quite efficiently by removing a number of them, because I believe that under a normal course of events, council doesn’t allow political advertising to be erected and remain on its areas of governance. I would assume that is the case with VicRoads.”

Council resolved earlier in the year to ensure election material was removed from council land. (“Warning given or erection of election signs” The Times, 8/10/18)

“What has happened is a very selective process which sees a major government authority unfortunately crossing a political line,” Cr Aitken said.

Cr Steve Toms added “I think the community would feel quite sick if cozy little deals between VicRoads and the state government were taking place.”

Cr Bolam said “we get approached by many community groups asking to advertise markets, garage sales, advertise charities, and routinely they are more often than not denied those opportunities. Very seldom have I seen any sort of signage on VicRoads land for anything. This has really set a precedent.”

The motion was carried unanimously.

First published in the Frankston Times – 3 December 2018

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