The Mirror News

South Gippsland Inquiry Commissioners Announced

THE Labor Government is wasting no time delivering a Commission of Inquiry into the South Gippsland Shire Council. 

Minister for Local Government Adem Somyurek last week announced the members and terms of reference for the Commission of Inquiry into South Gippsland Shire Council. 

  • The Honourable Frank Vincent AO QC, a former Supreme Court judge, will chair the Commission and be joined by two other Commissioners with significant experience in local government: 
  • Julie Eisenbise, a former mayor and councillor at Manningham City Council between 1997 and 2005 
  • John Watson, a former senior public servant with more than four decades experience across both local and State government. 

The terms of reference will see the Commission look into the behaviours of individual councillors, the process of hiring the Acting CEO, and the efficiency and effectiveness of governance arrangements in delivering services to the community.

The Local Government Act 1989 provides the Commissioners with broad ranging powers including summoning witnesses, requiring the production of documents and full access to the council and its documents. 

The Commissioners will determine how to conduct the inquiry, which will include some public proceedings, and will deliver a final report to the Minister by May 31. 

The Commission’s report will be tabled in Parliament. 

Minister for Local Government Adem Somyurek said, “The South Gippsland community is right to expect a Council that is focused on its needs.” 

“The Commission of Inquiry will help ensure South Gippsland Shire returns to a position of stability so it can effectively govern and deliver for its ratepayers.” 

“Like the South Gippsland community, I look forward to the expert advice of the Commission.” 

All Councillors of South Gippsland Shire Council councillors responded saying, “Council acknowledges and welcomes the Commission of Inquiry called by Minister for Local Government Adem Somyurek and is pleased that a report is expected by May 31, 2019.

“We are confident that the Commission of Inquiry will ensure proper process and an unbiased approach.

“With the expertise of the Chair and Commissioners selected we have no doubt concerns will be looked into thoroughly.

“Our priority is to get on with business and work with Council staff to deliver community services and advance South Gippsland.

“We have more positive work to do with funds secured for the $5.4M Leongatha Business Precinct Development (Bair Street) project, a project that has been developed and advocated for many years.

“Further development of the Heavy Vehicle Bypass in Leongatha is underway, the Korumburra Community Hub and Station project will soon be shovel ready and further streetscapes in other towns are upcoming.

“Council has also been fortunate to be one of six rural Councils selected by the Victorian Government to provide funded three year old kindergarten next year, a program which will have a long lasting impact on our future generations.

“In response to community concerns we have allocated additional funds of almost a million dollars in our upcoming budget to upgrade and maintain our gravel road network. “As a Council there are many future projects we wish to see progress for the betterment of the South Gippsland community.”

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