KINGSTON Council have voted to signal their disappointment at a “disingenuous” consultation process undertaken as part of the Victorian Electoral Commission’s electoral representation review.
The VEC is undertaking a review to determine if Kingston has an appropriate number of councillors, whether it should remain subdivided into wards, whether there should be more or less wards, and how many councillors should represent each ward.
Kingston Council mayor Georgina Oxley moved an item of urgent business at council’s 24 June meeting which read that “council is disappointed with the state government’s lack of consultation with the community and local government sector in relation to the ward boundary structure as outlined in the proposed new local government act.”
The motion read that council is “disappointed with what would appear to be disingenuous consultation with the community on the ward structure through the representation review process, if the government has already decided on the outcome of this process through the local government act bill to be passed through the parliament, which therefore disenfranchises members of our community with disingenuous consultation.”
The motion was passed by councillors. Kingston Council will request that the implementation of changes in the local government act be deferred until after the 2020 council election or that Kingston’s review be “postponed until such a decision can be made on the timelines and implementation of the new local government act.” Council has also requested an extension for submissions to the proposed new local government act until 30 July.
VEC electoral commissioner Warwick Gately said that reviews into council structures are generally required every 12 years, with Kingston’s last one being in 2007.
“The opportunity to have your say doesn’t come around too often, so it’s important to have a broad range of community members contributing to the shape of their local democracy,” he said last month (“Council structure under review”, The News, 19/6/19).
Preliminary submissions for the VEC’s review close at 5pm on 17 July. They can be submitted online at vec.vic.gov.au.