VEC has put forward a preferred option for changing our wards from ten single councillor wards to four much larger multiple councillor wards.
From the 215 responses sent to the VEC, 80% preferred the existing structure and yet VEC has chosen to ignore the overwhelming majority. Furthermore, if you give proper weight to BRAG’s response (on behalf of its 500 members) and other group responses, the percentage would be well over 90%. WHY?
- The clue is in the body of the report which mentions development lobbyists being concentrated in localized areas (like Camberwell Junction / Kew Junction /Glenferrie where development issues such as Activity Centre / large developments create real concern). VEC argues that the vocal localized resident reaction unduly pressures the single Councillor, whereas the four ward/multiple Councillor preferred option would broaden the issues over a much larger area and to more Councillors. Of course, this would include those residents who would be unaffected by a particular development and may not have any interest in it, thus marginalizing those most affected, those closest to and more affected by the development.
- The other main reason for VEC’s preferred option, which has not been spelled out, is that larger wards make it easy for candidates backed by a political party to campaign because of their financial backing, whereas an independent candidate would find financing and campaigning in a larger ward much more expensive & more difficult. BRAG is adamant that we keep politics out of Council. Remember VEC is an arm of government so you can readily see where the pressure for change is coming from.
Attached is a letter to residents from our Mayor, Coral Ross, together with a leaflet outlining other arguments against changing the current structure and also showing the four VEC options. The fourth option is closest to the one preferred by the residents’ responses. (You may need to enlarge the attachments to 100%).
Also attached is a copy of BRAG's submision to VEC.
VEC is prepared to accept submissions on their preferred options to be lodged by Wednesday 30th April 2008-5pm - to VEC, 505 Lt. Collins St. Melb. 3000.or email to firstname.lastname@example.org You can indicate if you wish to speak at a public hearing to be held at the Mayor’s Room, Hawthorn Town Hall, 360 Burwood Road, Hawthorn on Wednesday 7th May 6.30pm.
Whether you lodge a submission or not, BRAG urges you to come to the meeting at Hawthorn Town Hall on Wed.7th May at 6.30pm. You don’t necessarily have to speak, we will certainly be making our position clear to the VEC representatives on your behalf – people power does work, so we need you to be there - numbers will be critical.
Jack Roach, BRAG 9882 2829 / 0412 744163