The Mirror News

Swift action called on South Gippsland Shire Council

MEMBER for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien is calling for swift action on South Gippsland Shire Council.

“The latest resignations from South Gippsland Shire Council and the allegations made by departing councillors are alarming and of great concern,” he said. 

 “The ratepayers of South Gippsland Shire have had enough of the ongoing dysfunction within the Council and just want to see them get on with good governance and delivering for the people of the Shire.

 “There is currently a government-appointed Monitor in the Council and I urge the government to ask him to complete his report as quickly as possible. If the claims made by departing councillors are substantiated by the Monitor then the Minister should move to dismiss this council.” 

 Mr O’Brien said it was “not a suggestion I make lightly, but I’m concerned that unless drastic action is taken, there will be ongoing issues at the council until the next council election.

 “I wish the departing councillors Jim Fawcett and Lorraine Brunt all the best and I thank them for their service,” he said. 

 Minister for Local Government Adem Somyurek said he was seeking “urgent advice” on the matter. 

 ”Whilst the VEC will move to fill the vacancies at South Gippsland Shire, news of a fourth resignation of a councillor in the past six months is very concerning,” he said. 

 ”I have asked for urgent advice from the Monitor if this has the potential to negatively impact the ability of Council to provide good governance and or deliver services to its community.”

 Monitor Peter Stephenson spoke to the paper late last week. The interview occurred in the wake of Cr Fawcett’s resignation, but before Cr Lorraine Brunt announced her departure.

 Mr Stephenson, who was appointed to the role for up to a year on June 18 last year, reiterated a fact that has been lost on some – he cannot make the decision to dissolve Council. That decision remains with the Minister.  

“This won’t change the schedule of my reporting. I can continue to give councillors advice on governance issues. I will leave when the Minister forms the view I’m no longer required,” he said.  “I will keep working toward a better South Gippsland Shire Council until I’m given a bus ticket home.”

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