COMMUNITY asset committees and their membership have now started managing South Gippsland Shire’s public facilities such as halls, recreation reserves, an art gallery, showgrounds, and a museum; all previously run by Section 86 committees.
The shire’s administration panel formally voted to rescind Section 86 committees and to establish the new community asset committees in their stead at the ordinary council meeting held virtually via livestream on Wednesday August 26, 2020.
Section 65 in the recently gazetted Victorian Local Government Act 2020 directs municipalities to reform those volunteer-based groups named after Section 86 of the now redundant Local Government Act 1989 that historically looked after community meeting places, sports ovals and even botanic gardens on councils’ behalf.
These committees (by whatever name!) were described in a report in the meeting’s agenda as making “an important and valued contribution to community life in South Gippsland.”
At the August 26 meeting the panel elected to “revoke the appointments and delegations of each of the existing Section 86 committees” and in effect remade them as “community asset committees with the purpose, members and chairperson of each committee … set out in the schedule in this resolution.”
The panel defined a community asset committee’s quorum as “a whole number that is an absolute majority, which is greater than half the total number of members of the committee”, and agreed that “all members of [a] committee have voting rights.”
The 2020 Act largely simplifies how committees are formed by local councils, including their roles and structure, by replacing a mishmash of amendments made to the 1989 Act over many years.
The meeting report stated these changes “created confusion and uncertainty, which was exacerbated by the different roles and processes imposed on different types of committees.”
The 2020 Act specifies only three types of committees, including delegated, and audit and risk, as well as the community asset committees, all with powers and administrative arrangements related to those committees defined.
The meeting report says the 2020 Act “is silent, however, on any other type of committee a council may wish to establish.”
Councils can however establish any other committee that meets their needs, provided these committees have no delegated powers of the council and do not manage a community asset for the respective council.
Examples of these other types of committee include advisory, reference and steering.
South Gippsland Shire Council had 15 Section 86 committees affected by the 2020 Act’s reforms.
The shire also undertook to continue reviewing “the long-term governance arrangement for each community asset Committee within the following 12 months, in consultation with each committee.
“This intention will allow for [the] council and the community asset committees to explore the possible alternatives, develop appropriate structures and governance requirements and move to appropriate alternate arrangements within a 12-month timeframe” the report stated.
“Changes to the future structure of these committees must be made with careful consideration to the future of volunteering and community engagement with [South Gippsland Shire] Council.”
Below is “the purpose, members and chairperson” of the community asset committees in the eastern and central sections of South Gippsland Shire.
FWMAC and Foster Senior Citizens
The Foster War Memorial Arts Centre (FWMAC) and Senior Citizens Centre Community Asset Committee now manages the FWMAC and the Foster Senior Citizens Centre
The committee’s chair is Peter Clyne who serves alongside members Tania Pell, Leonie Clyne, Robert Paragreen, Joyce Simpson, John Taylor, and Annette Coy.
Foster Stockyard Gallery Community Asset Committee now directs Stockyard Gallery, and is chaired by Walter Birkenbeil working with members Kerry Strauss, Tess Deyl, Susan Gilford, Grant Flather, Anne Miller, Yianni Banikos, Sandra Abberton, and Pamela Henry.
Foster Showgrounds Community Asset Committee is in charge of the Foster Showgrounds, chaired by Deb Allott, with secretary Deb Eales, treasurer Malcolm Davies, and members Kylie Collins, Janine Boag-West, Emmah Welsh, Emma Garrow, John Sagasser, Neville Williams, Ian Lyon, Joe Goossen, and Noel Afflitto.
John Terrill Memorial Park and Fish Creek Recreation Reserve
John Terrill Memorial Park and Fish Creek Recreation Reserve Community Asset Committee now runs the John Terrill Memorial Park and Fish Creek Recreation Reserve.
The committee is chaired by Keith Straw, with members Catherine McGlead, Colin Bell, Barry McGannon, Alan Pell, Janice Pell, Brad Gale, Arthur Buckland, Neville Buckland, Alison Newman, Anne Terrell, and Margaret Watson.
Port Welshpool Maritime Museum
The Port Welshpool and District Maritime Museum Community Asset Committee now cares for the Port Welshpool District Maritime Museum, chaired by Fran Grylls working alongside members Janet Taylor, Ellen Ellis, Rodney Grylls, Greg Gordon, Sandy Collett, Murray Rendell, Wendy Lipianin, Jane Roberts, and Jeanie Causon.
Sandy Point Community Centre and T P Taylor Reserve
The Sandy Point Community Centre and T P Taylor Reserve Community Asset Committee, chaired by Dianne Cooper with members Sally Gibson, Tony Cornish, Dot Devine, Kim White, Rick Martin, Judy O’Sullivan, Judy Barnard, and Cheryl Dabrera, now operates the Sandy Point Community Centre and T P Taylor Reserve.
Meeniyan Sports Stadium
Meeniyan Sports Stadium Community Asset Committee now oversees the Meeniyan Sports Stadium and is chaired by Shane Bright, with members Peter Harris, Fay Sinclair, Kim Byrnes, Tarnya Wilson, Lucas Byrnes, Terri Potter, and Nicky Roffey.
The Dumbalk Hall Community Asset Committee, chaired by Terry Murphy with members Elain Snell, Colin Heppell, Jan Stirling, Kay Cook, Ian Inglis, Marg Cantwell, Karen Smith, Bev Hanley, and Gloria Simpson now administer to the Dumbalk Hall.
Mirboo North Hall
The Mirboo North Hall Community Asset Committee, chaired by Isobel Trease alongside members Lisa Murray, Michael Quigley, Frank Krausz, Andy Plowman, Liz Sharpley, and Kim Irving supervise the Mirboo North Hall.
Walter J Tuck Reserve
The Walter J Tuck Reserve Community Asset Committee now directs the Walter J Tuck Reserve at Mirboo North, chaired by Wayne Roberts with members Rachael Vansittart, Bernice Snell, Janine Alexander, Kathy Lloyd, Sean Fraser, Steve Bickerton, Joe Piper, Paul Vanderydt, Doug Taylor, John Mercer, Bobby Porter, and Jarrod Speed.
The Leongatha Courthouse Community Asset Committee, chaired by Nigel Hutchinson-Brooks with members, Natalie Stewart, Mesina Ahakova, Brad Lester, Tanielle Richards, Daryl Hunt, and Bruce Jarrett, now controls the Leongatha Courthouse.
Community asset committees will also manage the Korumburra Recreation Reserve, the Korumburra Botanic Park, and the Allambee South Community Hall.