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New era for market

09 Oct 2018

New era for market Image

By Niccola Anthony

South Melbourne Market (SMM) will usher in a new era in March when it introduces a revitalised management committee.

A new charter will come into effect on March 1 that seeks to overhaul the SMM committee’s management powers, so it can operate more efficiently as a commercial entity.

The charter was established as a response to the City of Port Phillip’s concerns that the existing committee was only advisory in nature and lacked the necessary governance powers established for the managing entities of similar Victorian and interstate markets.

Under the new charter, the SMM committee will have the power to set the long-term vision for the market, establish and oversee marketing and promotion, oversee day-to-day market management and enter into contractual and business arrangements.

The operation of the current charter delegates limited management powers to the committee – being the power to enter into leasehold and licence agreements with market stallholders.

Under structural requirements in the new charter, the SMM committee will consist of up to five members – two councillors and three independent members appointed by a selection panel.

The current charter appoints three councillors and three to four independent committee members.

At the October 3 council meeting, council officer Kylie Bennetts explained the changes to the structure and functions of the SMM committee.

“It’s a far more extensive list of requirements, but still gives scope for a mostly independent committee with a particular skill set in this area to really take that and implement it in a way that they see fit,” Ms Bennetts said.

“Importantly, the senior officer role would no longer be a member of the committee. That person would certainly observe the committee and provide advice [to it], but they will also need to provide independent advice to the council.”

Cr Ogy Simic, who voted in favour of the motion, was optimistic about the role of the new charter.

“I certainly welcome the proposed changes. I believe that they take into consideration the broad ranging feedback that we’ve received from all of the stakeholders who were consulted in this process and that, while the changes are small, they are changes that will ultimately significantly improve the operations of the SMM management committee,” Cr Simic said.

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