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State appoints municipal monitor to South Gippsland

THE State Government has appointed a municipal monitor to the South Gippsland Shire Council to “help guide good governance and help forge its strong future”.

Victorian Local Government Minister Shaun Leane announced on Friday November 5, 2021 that Prue Digby would fill the role of monitor for one year working with the newly-elected council.

“During her 12-month term as municipal monitor in South Gippsland, Ms Digby will support the Shire’s transition back to elected councillors, encourage good governance and help prevent a recurrence of the behaviours that led to the council’s dismissal in June 2019,” a State Government spokesman said.

“The council was dismissed after the Commission of Inquiry found a high level of discord, conflict and tension between the councillors had negatively affected the council’s performance, councillors’ decision-making, councillor-staff relationships and council’s reputation,” the spokesman said.

“Three administrators have since been overseeing the functioning of council.”

Ms Digby has an extensive work history in state and local government as well as prior experience as a municipal monitor to Frankston City Council.

A former Victorian Building Authority chief executive, Ms Digby has also been an executive director of Local Government Victoria in the former Department of Infrastructure, the chief executive Yarra City Council and a Melbourne City Council senior manager.

Minister Leane said “South Gippsland locals deserve the very best from their local council and elected representatives, and I look forward to seeing the return of democracy at South Gippsland Shire under Ms Digby’s guidance.

“I thank the Administrators for their work in supporting the local community through a challenging time and I fully expect the newly elected councillors to maintain the standards of good governance that have been put in place.”

As well as appointing a monitor, the Victorian Government is also supporting the participation of women in local government in South Gippsland through a $29,500 grant to expand the Australian Local Government Women’s Association mentoring program.

The program pairs newly elected female councillors with experienced mentors from across the state, with five places reserved for women elected to the South Gippsland Shire Council.

PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is leading the State’s Local Government Culture Project announced in August 2021 to support and improve council culture across Victoria.

The project is expected to provide a platform for the local government sector to identify and take ownership of a positive and inclusive culture that will improve governance and build public trust.

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