THE State Government will appoint a municipal monitor to guide South Gippsland Shire’s forthcoming new and democratically-elected council.
Local government elections will be held by postal ballot in October 2021 to elect a council for South Gippsland Shire, following more than two years under administration after the State dismissed the previous council in June 2019.
Acting Victorian Local Government Minister Mary-Anne Thomas announced on Tuesday September 7, 2021 that the municipal monitor will be appointed to the council following the elections.
“The municipal monitor will support the return of elected representation at South Gippsland Shire, along with good governance and democracy, during the council’s first year,” she said.
“The monitor will also support the Shire’s transition back to elected representation and assist councillors to take ownership of a positive and inclusive culture that will improve systems and build public trust.”
A release issued on Local Government Minister Shaun Leane’s letterhead stated that “following the council’s dismissal in June 2019, South Gippsland Shire Administrators Julie Eisenbise, Christian Zahra and Rick Brown have been overseeing the council and working with the community to restore confidence.”
“I expect the next council will continue the good governance that the Administrators have put in place and the community deserves,” Ms Thomas said.
“Serving on council is an opportunity to represent your community and deliver changes that can make a real difference, so I’d encourage anyone in South Gippsland interested to nominate.”
The release also advised that “with candidate nominations opening on Thursday September 16 [and closing at 12 noon on Tuesday September 21], eligible candidates are encouraged to stand for election to represent their communities.
“Elections will be held on Saturday October 23 and the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) expects results to be declared by Friday November 5.
“A Mayor will be elected by the councillors after the new council is sworn in,” the release said.
“All candidates must complete the [VEC] Local Government Candidate Training Course before they nominate.”
Find the Local Government Candidate Training Course at www.localgovernment.vic.gov.au/council-governance/candidate-training
State backs women “in local democracy”
Ms Thomas indicated that in addition to appointing a monitor, the Victorian Government has “supported the participation of women in local democracy in South Gippsland with three grants, including $50,000 to help the council develop an extensive community leadership development program.
“The State also provided a $29,500 grant to the Australian Local Government Women’s Association (ALGWA) to continue and expand its mentoring program, pairing newly-elected female councillors with experienced mentors from across the state.
“Five places in this program are reserved for women elected to the South Gippsland Shire Council,” the release said.
“A grant of $7,500 went to the Victorian Local Governance Association’s (VLGA) Local Women Leading Change Program to support women candidates in the South Gippsland Shire elections.”
Monitor to “focus on future” – Shire CEO
South Gippsland Shire Council chief executive officer Kerryn Ellis believes the Victorian Government’s municipal monitor will seek to “focus on the future” once the person is appointed to the position.
“Local Government Victoria, the State Government department in charge of local councils, is still in the process of looking for the most appropriate monitor, and hasn’t chosen one as yet,” she said.
“We expect the announcement will be made during the next two or three weeks and that the monitor will commence at the time when the poll is declared.”
Ms Ellis said the monitor would be ‘Involved in the whole [councillor] induction process” and would also “work alongside the council administration staff.
“Once the monitor has formally commenced in their new role, they will have the opportunity to meet with [administration panel chair] Julie Eisenbise and to receive a briefing on the South Gippsland Shire and the administrators’ time here,” she said.
“The open ordinary council meeting to be held on Wednesday September 15 will include the administrators’ final reports and the monitor will also be able to refer to those as well as to all other relevant documentation.”
Shire Council elections timetable
Candidates for the forthcoming South Gippsland Shire Council postal elections are required to formally nominate in person and by appointment with the VEC-appointed election manager Janine Taylor from Thursday September 16, 2021.
They must also complete the mandatory Local Government Candidate Training Course, available online through www.localgovenmentvictoria.vic.gov.au before submitting their nomination if they haven’t already completed the training since 2020, and pay the nomination fee of $250.
Nine councillors will be elected on Election Day, October 23, 2021, with three councillors representing each of South Gippsland Shire’s three wards; Coastal/Promontory, Tarwin Valley, and Strzelecki.
The VEC’s South Gippsland Shire Council election office, where nominations must be lodged personally by prior arrangement, opens on Wednesday morning September 15 at 37 Bair Street in Leongatha, telephone 1300 202 885.
The election office will operate on a COVID-Safe basis.
Nominations close at 12 noon on Nomination Day, Tuesday September 21, 2021, with the ballot draw, to determine the position of candidates’ names on the three wards’ ballot papers, to follow.
Nominated candidates are required to lodge their election statements, questionnaires and photographs with the VEC by 12 noon on Wednesday September 22, 2021.
Ballot packs will be posted to voters between Tuesday and Thursday October 5 to 7, with voting closing at 6 pm on Friday October 22, followed by the official Election Day on Saturday October 23, 2021.
Full preferential voting is used in Victorian Lower House [Legislative Assembly] and local council elections.
In full preferential voting voters write a number 1 in the box for their most-preferred candidate, and then number all remaining boxes in order of preference.
If every box is not given a number, the vote will not be counted.
The VEC’s postal vote receipt period begins on Monday October 25 and closes at 12 noon on Friday October 29, with the results to be declared by Friday November 5, 2021.
Declared Council Candidates
The Mirror is compiling a running tally of all of the candidates so far whom we understand have publicly declared they will nominate as candidates in the 2021 South Gippsland Shire Council elections so far, before this edition went to press.
The list is by no means complete, as the official candidacy nomination process opens on Thursday September 16, and closes at 12 noon on Nomination Day on Tuesday September 21, 2021.
More names are expected to be added to the list in subsequent editions of The Mirror.
The candidates are listed by ward and in completely random order.
- Sue Plowright, Toora
- Mat Morgan, Foster
- Anda Banikos, Fish Creek
- Sarah Gilligan, Venus Bay
- Mohya Davies, Foster
- David Liebelt, Venus Bay
Tarwin Valley Ward
- Andrew Corcoran, Mirboo North
- Jeremy Curtis, Berrys Creek
- Les Harmer, Mirboo North
- John Schelling, Leongatha
- Lindsay Love, Leongatha
- Rosemary Cousin, Allambee South
- Adrian Darakai, Leongatha.
- Jennifer Keerie, Korumburra
- Andrew McEwen, Meeniyan
- Frank Hirst, Ranceby
- Nathan Hersey, Loch
- David Amor, Korumburra
- Jim Forbes, Poowong