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Southbank Residents Group

14 Dec 2014

We vote for councillors to manage the municipality, produce policy and make sensible planning decisions among many other tasks but, overall, to represent the interests of the community through those tasks.

At last month’s Future Melbourne Committee meeting I witnessed something that made me question the values and integrity of some of our councillors and left me flabbergasted and angry.

As an agenda item for a planning application for the corner of Balston St and City Rd was about to commence, a number of councillors excused themselves from the agenda item and left the room citing conflicts of interest.

Apparently the developer had made donations to their party/ticket! What this meant is the agenda item could not be heard, as there was no quorum. Coincidentally, this planning application was in contravention of a number of planning considerations. So the planning application was sent to the Minister’s office with no comment or direction from the Future Melbourne Committee for the minister’s consideration.

While none of the councillors have broken any laws (from what I am aware), I question how any councillor could allow themselves to be compromised to such an extent that they are not able to execute their responsibilities (although this does raise questions regarding donation rules).

This is our community and we expect council to make decisions and representation on our behalf.

Shame on those councillors/tickets that allowed themselves to be in this predicament. This was probably a deliberate strategy of the developer to avoid a negative recommendation from the Future Melbourne Committee. I am disgusted!

On a happier note, the election is finally over.

I can hopefully get some normality back into my schedule (what is that?). I would like to extend our congratulations to Martin Foley for his successful retention of the Albert Park seat, but also to his party for their win.

Martin has been allocated the portfolios of Housing, Disability and Ageing, Mental Health and Creative Industries. Wow, what a workload! We are very fortunate our local member is the Minister for Creative Industries (aka arts) since the arts play a critical role across the Southbank landscape. I am looking forward to working closely with Martin on all the issues affecting Southbank.

I would like to thank all those who attended our AGM and offered their support and feedback. Obviously I was re-elected as president and our executive committee has remained unchanged.

Having said this, we still have vacancies for other office bearer roles so don’t hold back and consider helping us out. Remember to like us on Facebook (SouthbankResidentsGroup).

Finally, I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and safe New Year. May 2015 be an exciting, safe and prosperous year for all our community.

Tony Penna
President

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