Green Beware Family First now an Alliance with the Liberals

Just what are the Greens up to in the State Parliament?

Have the Greens been hijacked by a extreme elements of the left? There has been a power shift in the greens and a lot of question need to be asked about who is exactly running the show.

The first sign of a take-over was when the Greens dumped David Risstrom., former Melbourne City Councillor and first Green to hold public office from the number one Senate spot. The Greens gave the no 1 spot to a “family first” member … Brother in law …

Now there is growing concern that the Greens are in bed with the liberal party and have formed an unhealthy alliance. If its Green beware … there is much more to the Greens then the marketing label.. check out this site http://www.greens-liberal-deal.com.au/

Green Beware Family First now an Alliance with the Liberals

Just what are the Greens up to in the State Parliament?

Have the Greens been hijacked by a extreme elements of the left? There has been a power shift in the greens and a lot of question need to be asked about who is exactly running the show.

The first sign of a take-over was when the Greens dumped David Risstrom., former Melbourne City Councillor and first Green to hold public office from the number one Senate spot. The Greens gave the no 1 spot to a “family first” member … Brother in law …

Now there is growing concern that the Greens are in bed with the liberal party and have formed an unhealthy alliance. If its Green beware … there is much more to the Greens then the marketing label.. check out this site http://www.greens-liberal-deal.com.au/

Green Beware Family First now an Alliance with the Liberals

Just what are the Greens up to in the State Parliament?

Have the Greens been hijacked by a extreme elements of the left? There has been a power shift in the greens and a lot of question need to be asked about who is exactly running the show.

The first sign of a take-over was when the Greens dumped David Risstrom., former Melbourne City Councillor and first Green to hold public office from the number one Senate spot. The Greens gave the no 1 spot to a “family first” member … Brother in law …

Now there is growing concern that the Greens are in bed with the liberal party and have formed an unhealthy alliance. If its Green beware … there is much more to the Greens then the marketing label.. check out this site http://www.greens-liberal-deal.com.au/

Rob honoured by the Crown A Right Royal Stuff Up

The theft and destruction of Melbourne’s Crown Jewel at the hands of Rob Adams

If ever there was a excuse (As if we need anther excuse) for Australia to become a Republic it is the news that Melbourne City Council extravagant “Design Me a Job” Rob Adams is included in the Queens Birthday Honours list.

The Age’s Clay Lucas reports that Rob Adams has “Turned the City Around“.

Cow tailing Rob

In 1996 Rob Adams sat back and watched the City decline and go through one of its major planning mistakes in its limited history. Rather then fight for his beliefs Rob Adams soon cow towed to the destructive wishes of the Kennett Government and Mark Birrell in particular when the then state Government decided to hand over prime river frontage to Crown Casino that now dominates much of Melbourne’s cultural precinct.

Along with the Casino land grab Melbourne’s Museum was shifted from “Center Stage” to the Carlton Gardens. Instead of the Museum making a positive contribution to the City of Melbourne it has become a burden to the City and continues to compromise Melbourne’s World World Heritage Site. Both the Museum and the Royal Exhibition Buildings have languished and suffered ever since thanks in part to Rob Adams who was very much at the forefront of this major planning disaster.

Planners, politicians and Architects at the time all criticised the relocation of the museum stating that the Museum need to be part of Melbourne Arts precinct and that the relation to the Carlton Gardens would be a mistake. Rob Adams at the time also agreed and argued that the museum should be incorporated into an expanded Federation Square Development.

As soon as push came to shove – Rob Adams, threatened with exclusion from involvement in major projects, soon capitulated to the demands of the State Government and in the process compromised his own professional standing . Rob Adams and the then City Council under the leadership of Lord Mayor, Ivan Deveson and Deputy Lord Mayor, Peter McMullin, refused to even call on the State Government to subject the Museum development to a proper planning review.

The Museum and the Federation Square project suffered as a result of Adams and the Council’s capitulation. The outcome for Melbourne could have and should have been better for Melbourne. An Opportunity lost forever.

You either believe in a proper planning process or you don’t.

The Federation Square Project, in which Rob Adams played a major role, went though a shame a planning review. A classic case of pulling the cart before the horse with the review being held after the project design was decided. Once again compromising Rob Adams professional reputation.

The Queens Birthday honours could single Rob Adams departure as the City undergoes major restructure and reorganisation.

Whilst Adams has done some good work, and Melbourne paid top dollar for the work and designs he oversaw, he will always be remembered for the day he bent over and sold out the City of Melbourne in the process.

Rob honoured by the Crown A Right Royal Stuff Up

The theft and destruction of Melbourne’s Crown Jewel at the hands of Rob Adams

If ever there was a excuse (As if we need anther excuse) for Australia to become a Republic it is the news that Melbourne City Council extravagant “Design Me a Job” Rob Adams is included in the Queens Birthday Honours list.

The Age’s Clay Lucas reports that Rob Adams has “Turned the City Around“.

Cow tailing Rob

In 1996 Rob Adams sat back and watched the City decline and go through one of its major planning mistakes in its limited history. Rather then fight for his beliefs Rob Adams soon cow towed to the destructive wishes of the Kennett Government and Mark Birrell in particular when the then state Government decided to hand over prime river frontage to Crown Casino that now dominates much of Melbourne’s cultural precinct.

Along with the Casino land grab Melbourne’s Museum was shifted from “Center Stage” to the Carlton Gardens. Instead of the Museum making a positive contribution to the City of Melbourne it has become a burden to the City and continues to compromise Melbourne’s World World Heritage Site. Both the Museum and the Royal Exhibition Buildings have languished and suffered ever since thanks in part to Rob Adams who was very much at the forefront of this major planning disaster.

Planners, politicians and Architects at the time all criticised the relocation of the museum stating that the Museum need to be part of Melbourne Arts precinct and that the relation to the Carlton Gardens would be a mistake. Rob Adams at the time also agreed and argued that the museum should be incorporated into an expanded Federation Square Development.

As soon as push came to shove – Rob Adams, threatened with exclusion from involvement in major projects, soon capitulated to the demands of the State Government and in the process compromised his own professional standing . Rob Adams and the then City Council under the leadership of Lord Mayor, Ivan Deveson and Deputy Lord Mayor, Peter McMullin, refused to even call on the State Government to subject the Museum development to a proper planning review.

The Museum and the Federation Square project suffered as a result of Adams and the Council’s capitulation. The outcome for Melbourne could have and should have been better for Melbourne. An Opportunity lost forever.

You either believe in a proper planning process or you don’t.

The Federation Square Project, in which Rob Adams played a major role, went though a shame a planning review. A classic case of pulling the cart before the horse with the review being held after the project design was decided. Once again compromising Rob Adams professional reputation.

The Queens Birthday honours could single Rob Adams departure as the City undergoes major restructure and reorganisation.

Whilst Adams has done some good work, and Melbourne paid top dollar for the work and designs he oversaw, he will always be remembered for the day he bent over and sold out the City of Melbourne in the process.

Rob honoured by the Crown A Right Royal Stuff Up

The theft and destruction of Melbourne’s Crown Jewel at the hands of Rob Adams

If ever there was a excuse (As if we need anther excuse) for Australia to become a Republic it is the news that Melbourne City Council extravagant “Design Me a Job” Rob Adams is included in the Queens Birthday Honours list.

The Age’s Clay Lucas reports that Rob Adams has “Turned the City Around“.

Cow tailing Rob

In 1996 Rob Adams sat back and watched the City decline and go through one of its major planning mistakes in its limited history. Rather then fight for his beliefs Rob Adams soon cow towed to the destructive wishes of the Kennett Government and Mark Birrell in particular when the then state Government decided to hand over prime river frontage to Crown Casino that now dominates much of Melbourne’s cultural precinct.

Along with the Casino land grab Melbourne’s Museum was shifted from “Center Stage” to the Carlton Gardens. Instead of the Museum making a positive contribution to the City of Melbourne it has become a burden to the City and continues to compromise Melbourne’s World World Heritage Site. Both the Museum and the Royal Exhibition Buildings have languished and suffered ever since thanks in part to Rob Adams who was very much at the forefront of this major planning disaster.

Planners, politicians and Architects at the time all criticised the relocation of the museum stating that the Museum need to be part of Melbourne Arts precinct and that the relation to the Carlton Gardens would be a mistake. Rob Adams at the time also agreed and argued that the museum should be incorporated into an expanded Federation Square Development.

As soon as push came to shove – Rob Adams, threatened with exclusion from involvement in major projects, soon capitulated to the demands of the State Government and in the process compromised his own professional standing . Rob Adams and the then City Council under the leadership of Lord Mayor, Ivan Deveson and Deputy Lord Mayor, Peter McMullin, refused to even call on the State Government to subject the Museum development to a proper planning review.

The Museum and the Federation Square project suffered as a result of Adams and the Council’s capitulation. The outcome for Melbourne could have and should have been better for Melbourne. An Opportunity lost forever.

You either believe in a proper planning process or you don’t.

The Federation Square Project, in which Rob Adams played a major role, went though a shame a planning review. A classic case of pulling the cart before the horse with the review being held after the project design was decided. Once again compromising Rob Adams professional reputation.

The Queens Birthday honours could single Rob Adams departure as the City undergoes major restructure and reorganisation.

Whilst Adams has done some good work, and Melbourne paid top dollar for the work and designs he oversaw, he will always be remembered for the day he bent over and sold out the City of Melbourne in the process.

Popularity versus Good Governance So comes under detail scrutiny and review

Is the State Government up to the challenge?

The Age Kenneth Davidson takes a look at the underlying problems and legacy of the Kennet Government’s Local Government Reform and the urgent need for the State Government to take the necessary step of intitiating further reform and not just ride the wave.

Davidson take a inner look at the City of Melbourne but teh real soultion lies outside its current boundaries and the need to serious consider a Greater Melbourne in association with electoral reform that restors good governance, accountability and representation.

The sooner the State Government initiates a public review the sooner we can begin to address the issues that confront our city.

Council pathways need urgent repair
Kenneth Davidson The Age June 4, 2007

THE report by Ernst & Young on the operations of the Melbourne City Council is a blistering attack on the administration of the MCC under Lord Mayor John So.

Finances are out of control. According to the report, the council has had negative cash flow of $67 million in the past two years and the cumulative draw on capital over the next 10 years is estimated at $109 million.

The report states there are three key issues that contributed to the problems the council now faces: “Administration and council decision-making processes are often inconsistent, incomplete and based on poor data, the administration has an increasingly top heavy, disaggregated organisation structure, and management of staff performance is ineffective.”

Incredibly, So is refusing to take responsibility even though he played an active part behind the scenes in most of these decisions. He claims wrongly the administration of the council is the responsibility of the chief executive, David Pitchford.

Even greater responsibility lies with the State Government, which inherited an electoral gerrymander created under the Kennett government that Premier Steve Bracks has refused to reform because it wants to have both control and distance when the council becomes the victim of its own in-built incompetence.

It is the same governance principle that applies to the franchise model governing urban public transport. The Government wants to earn the gratitude of the big end of town, which wants to make money from building toll roads financed by public-private partnerships. It wants the foreign multinationals that stand behind Connex and Yarra Trams to take the heat for running an inadequate public transport system. The franchisees run the system to maximise their profit from the subsidy, which is now about twice the subsidy that applied just before the MET was taken out of public control, without an improvement in service that could justify the extra cost to the taxpayer. The Government believes it is a price worth paying in order to confuse the issue of who is responsible for the system.

As Transport Minister Lynne Kosky said recently in response to the question, why shouldn’t the Government exercise its right to rescind the franchise without penalty in November, the Government didn’t want to be responsible for running a transport system. Like So at the local government level, Kosky at the state level uses the same excuse of managerial issues outside her control to duck ministerial responsibility.

The Kennett legacy is still with us. The politicians run a double act. They are dictatorial when it suits them to be seen as decisive, and have the ability to deny accountability when it suits them to put distance between themselves and unpopular decisions.

As the Ernst & Young report points out, the wasteful expenditure, very often with no higher purpose than to increase the standing of So, has occurred because So’s control of council numbers means that projects involving additional spending outside the budget global limits, which should be referred to full council, are stitched up by council committees.

“Decisions are routinely made by council committees on recommendations that require new funding,” the report said. “This is exacerbated by the practice of not providing full costing details … (this) sets up conflict in the budgeting process as the total cost of approved initiatives exceeds the council approved budget.”

The most egregious example of the impact of this approach was So decision to provide $47.5 million to the development of the Convention Centre on South bank on the suggestion of the Treasurer, John Brumby, without referring the proposal to full council until he had stitched up the numbers outside the committee and council process.

So was told by Brumby the project would not go ahead unless the council made the $47.5 million contribution, even before concept plans were drawn up and tenders called for the development, according to Kevin Chamberlin, who was chairman of the finance committee at the time and not a supporter of the proposal.

The Bracks Government may be characterised as Kennett Lite. It’s public face is warm, friendly and caring but it is largely responsible to the same interests that stood more openly behind the Kennett government. Like the Kennett government, the Bracks Government hides behind a managerialism that tries to put as much distance between the Government and ordinary voters as possible.

The Bracks Government inherited gerrymandered boundaries and an undemocratic “deeming” provision for voting in MCC elections. The only reforms the Bracks Government introduced were to abolish the ward system and the introduction of direct voting for mayor separate from the election of councillors.

The Government left in place the gerrymandered boundaries introduced by Kennett, which split off parts of North Melbourne, half of Kensington and all of North Carlton.

The deeming provisions means that council officers are legally required to look up directors and owners of commercial property only, and where they are not already on the electoral roll they can be “deemed” to be on the role. Electoral material and ballots will be sent to them and they are entitled to vote, even if they live in China or Hong Kong or elsewhere and have never visited Melbourne or known anything about the candidates standing. The system is wide open to rorting. And yet it hasn’t been referred to the Victorian Electoral Commission, which is undertaking a review of local government structures and voting. Why?

Melbourne could get a better set of representatives if the pre-Kennett boundaries were restored and direct mayoral election was abolished, according to Green councillor Fraser Brindley. The present system, which gives more votes to commercial property owners than residents, suits the Government because it favours tame-cat business representatives who share the Government’s “development” objectives such as channel deepening, the East-West tunnel linking Hoddle Street and the Tullamarine Freeway, the Convention Centre and special events such as the Grand Prix and the Commonwealth Games.

Population is coming back to inner Melbourne. The gerrymander should be reversed so that the council is elected by a majority of residents rather than absentee property owners. MCC electoral reform and public ownership of the urban transport system are the necessary preconditions to seriously tackling Melbourne’s livability issues.

Popularity versus Good Governance So comes under detail scrutiny and review

Is the State Government up to the challenge?

The Age Kenneth Davidson takes a look at the underlying problems and legacy of the Kennet Government’s Local Government Reform and the urgent need for the State Government to take the necessary step of intitiating further reform and not just ride the wave.

Davidson take a inner look at the City of Melbourne but teh real soultion lies outside its current boundaries and the need to serious consider a Greater Melbourne in association with electoral reform that restors good governance, accountability and representation.

The sooner the State Government initiates a public review the sooner we can begin to address the issues that confront our city.

Council pathways need urgent repair
Kenneth Davidson The Age June 4, 2007

THE report by Ernst & Young on the operations of the Melbourne City Council is a blistering attack on the administration of the MCC under Lord Mayor John So.

Finances are out of control. According to the report, the council has had negative cash flow of $67 million in the past two years and the cumulative draw on capital over the next 10 years is estimated at $109 million.

The report states there are three key issues that contributed to the problems the council now faces: “Administration and council decision-making processes are often inconsistent, incomplete and based on poor data, the administration has an increasingly top heavy, disaggregated organisation structure, and management of staff performance is ineffective.”

Incredibly, So is refusing to take responsibility even though he played an active part behind the scenes in most of these decisions. He claims wrongly the administration of the council is the responsibility of the chief executive, David Pitchford.

Even greater responsibility lies with the State Government, which inherited an electoral gerrymander created under the Kennett government that Premier Steve Bracks has refused to reform because it wants to have both control and distance when the council becomes the victim of its own in-built incompetence.

It is the same governance principle that applies to the franchise model governing urban public transport. The Government wants to earn the gratitude of the big end of town, which wants to make money from building toll roads financed by public-private partnerships. It wants the foreign multinationals that stand behind Connex and Yarra Trams to take the heat for running an inadequate public transport system. The franchisees run the system to maximise their profit from the subsidy, which is now about twice the subsidy that applied just before the MET was taken out of public control, without an improvement in service that could justify the extra cost to the taxpayer. The Government believes it is a price worth paying in order to confuse the issue of who is responsible for the system.

As Transport Minister Lynne Kosky said recently in response to the question, why shouldn’t the Government exercise its right to rescind the franchise without penalty in November, the Government didn’t want to be responsible for running a transport system. Like So at the local government level, Kosky at the state level uses the same excuse of managerial issues outside her control to duck ministerial responsibility.

The Kennett legacy is still with us. The politicians run a double act. They are dictatorial when it suits them to be seen as decisive, and have the ability to deny accountability when it suits them to put distance between themselves and unpopular decisions.

As the Ernst & Young report points out, the wasteful expenditure, very often with no higher purpose than to increase the standing of So, has occurred because So’s control of council numbers means that projects involving additional spending outside the budget global limits, which should be referred to full council, are stitched up by council committees.

“Decisions are routinely made by council committees on recommendations that require new funding,” the report said. “This is exacerbated by the practice of not providing full costing details … (this) sets up conflict in the budgeting process as the total cost of approved initiatives exceeds the council approved budget.”

The most egregious example of the impact of this approach was So decision to provide $47.5 million to the development of the Convention Centre on South bank on the suggestion of the Treasurer, John Brumby, without referring the proposal to full council until he had stitched up the numbers outside the committee and council process.

So was told by Brumby the project would not go ahead unless the council made the $47.5 million contribution, even before concept plans were drawn up and tenders called for the development, according to Kevin Chamberlin, who was chairman of the finance committee at the time and not a supporter of the proposal.

The Bracks Government may be characterised as Kennett Lite. It’s public face is warm, friendly and caring but it is largely responsible to the same interests that stood more openly behind the Kennett government. Like the Kennett government, the Bracks Government hides behind a managerialism that tries to put as much distance between the Government and ordinary voters as possible.

The Bracks Government inherited gerrymandered boundaries and an undemocratic “deeming” provision for voting in MCC elections. The only reforms the Bracks Government introduced were to abolish the ward system and the introduction of direct voting for mayor separate from the election of councillors.

The Government left in place the gerrymandered boundaries introduced by Kennett, which split off parts of North Melbourne, half of Kensington and all of North Carlton.

The deeming provisions means that council officers are legally required to look up directors and owners of commercial property only, and where they are not already on the electoral roll they can be “deemed” to be on the role. Electoral material and ballots will be sent to them and they are entitled to vote, even if they live in China or Hong Kong or elsewhere and have never visited Melbourne or known anything about the candidates standing. The system is wide open to rorting. And yet it hasn’t been referred to the Victorian Electoral Commission, which is undertaking a review of local government structures and voting. Why?

Melbourne could get a better set of representatives if the pre-Kennett boundaries were restored and direct mayoral election was abolished, according to Green councillor Fraser Brindley. The present system, which gives more votes to commercial property owners than residents, suits the Government because it favours tame-cat business representatives who share the Government’s “development” objectives such as channel deepening, the East-West tunnel linking Hoddle Street and the Tullamarine Freeway, the Convention Centre and special events such as the Grand Prix and the Commonwealth Games.

Population is coming back to inner Melbourne. The gerrymander should be reversed so that the council is elected by a majority of residents rather than absentee property owners. MCC electoral reform and public ownership of the urban transport system are the necessary preconditions to seriously tackling Melbourne’s livability issues.

Popularity versus Good Governance So comes under detail scrutiny and review

Is the State Government up to the challenge?

The Age Kenneth Davidson takes a look at the underlying problems and legacy of the Kennet Government’s Local Government Reform and the urgent need for the State Government to take the necessary step of intitiating further reform and not just ride the wave.

Davidson take a inner look at the City of Melbourne but teh real soultion lies outside its current boundaries and the need to serious consider a Greater Melbourne in association with electoral reform that restors good governance, accountability and representation.

The sooner the State Government initiates a public review the sooner we can begin to address the issues that confront our city.

Council pathways need urgent repair
Kenneth Davidson The Age June 4, 2007

THE report by Ernst & Young on the operations of the Melbourne City Council is a blistering attack on the administration of the MCC under Lord Mayor John So.

Finances are out of control. According to the report, the council has had negative cash flow of $67 million in the past two years and the cumulative draw on capital over the next 10 years is estimated at $109 million.

The report states there are three key issues that contributed to the problems the council now faces: “Administration and council decision-making processes are often inconsistent, incomplete and based on poor data, the administration has an increasingly top heavy, disaggregated organisation structure, and management of staff performance is ineffective.”

Incredibly, So is refusing to take responsibility even though he played an active part behind the scenes in most of these decisions. He claims wrongly the administration of the council is the responsibility of the chief executive, David Pitchford.

Even greater responsibility lies with the State Government, which inherited an electoral gerrymander created under the Kennett government that Premier Steve Bracks has refused to reform because it wants to have both control and distance when the council becomes the victim of its own in-built incompetence.

It is the same governance principle that applies to the franchise model governing urban public transport. The Government wants to earn the gratitude of the big end of town, which wants to make money from building toll roads financed by public-private partnerships. It wants the foreign multinationals that stand behind Connex and Yarra Trams to take the heat for running an inadequate public transport system. The franchisees run the system to maximise their profit from the subsidy, which is now about twice the subsidy that applied just before the MET was taken out of public control, without an improvement in service that could justify the extra cost to the taxpayer. The Government believes it is a price worth paying in order to confuse the issue of who is responsible for the system.

As Transport Minister Lynne Kosky said recently in response to the question, why shouldn’t the Government exercise its right to rescind the franchise without penalty in November, the Government didn’t want to be responsible for running a transport system. Like So at the local government level, Kosky at the state level uses the same excuse of managerial issues outside her control to duck ministerial responsibility.

The Kennett legacy is still with us. The politicians run a double act. They are dictatorial when it suits them to be seen as decisive, and have the ability to deny accountability when it suits them to put distance between themselves and unpopular decisions.

As the Ernst & Young report points out, the wasteful expenditure, very often with no higher purpose than to increase the standing of So, has occurred because So’s control of council numbers means that projects involving additional spending outside the budget global limits, which should be referred to full council, are stitched up by council committees.

“Decisions are routinely made by council committees on recommendations that require new funding,” the report said. “This is exacerbated by the practice of not providing full costing details … (this) sets up conflict in the budgeting process as the total cost of approved initiatives exceeds the council approved budget.”

The most egregious example of the impact of this approach was So decision to provide $47.5 million to the development of the Convention Centre on South bank on the suggestion of the Treasurer, John Brumby, without referring the proposal to full council until he had stitched up the numbers outside the committee and council process.

So was told by Brumby the project would not go ahead unless the council made the $47.5 million contribution, even before concept plans were drawn up and tenders called for the development, according to Kevin Chamberlin, who was chairman of the finance committee at the time and not a supporter of the proposal.

The Bracks Government may be characterised as Kennett Lite. It’s public face is warm, friendly and caring but it is largely responsible to the same interests that stood more openly behind the Kennett government. Like the Kennett government, the Bracks Government hides behind a managerialism that tries to put as much distance between the Government and ordinary voters as possible.

The Bracks Government inherited gerrymandered boundaries and an undemocratic “deeming” provision for voting in MCC elections. The only reforms the Bracks Government introduced were to abolish the ward system and the introduction of direct voting for mayor separate from the election of councillors.

The Government left in place the gerrymandered boundaries introduced by Kennett, which split off parts of North Melbourne, half of Kensington and all of North Carlton.

The deeming provisions means that council officers are legally required to look up directors and owners of commercial property only, and where they are not already on the electoral roll they can be “deemed” to be on the role. Electoral material and ballots will be sent to them and they are entitled to vote, even if they live in China or Hong Kong or elsewhere and have never visited Melbourne or known anything about the candidates standing. The system is wide open to rorting. And yet it hasn’t been referred to the Victorian Electoral Commission, which is undertaking a review of local government structures and voting. Why?

Melbourne could get a better set of representatives if the pre-Kennett boundaries were restored and direct mayoral election was abolished, according to Green councillor Fraser Brindley. The present system, which gives more votes to commercial property owners than residents, suits the Government because it favours tame-cat business representatives who share the Government’s “development” objectives such as channel deepening, the East-West tunnel linking Hoddle Street and the Tullamarine Freeway, the Convention Centre and special events such as the Grand Prix and the Commonwealth Games.

Population is coming back to inner Melbourne. The gerrymander should be reversed so that the council is elected by a majority of residents rather than absentee property owners. MCC electoral reform and public ownership of the urban transport system are the necessary preconditions to seriously tackling Melbourne’s livability issues.

Being Ernst and Young Melbourne City Council’s $300,000 Efficiency Report

Melbourne City Council has published, following public outcry and ongoing speculation, has decided to publish secret $300,000 Ernst and Young – Efficiency Report.

The report confirms what everyone has known but the City Council refused to acknowledge. It cost the City Council over $300,000. This report, well worth the read if not the cost, will become a road map by which ratepayers and the State Government will review the performance of the Council and to senior management.

To date the report card is not looking good. We have seen a continued reduction in the working capital of the City Council and a ever expanding costs and wasted expenditure.

Can John So turn the sinking ship around before it goes bottom up?

John So has tried to place the blame on the CEO claiming that the CEO is responsible for staff management and Council finances. It was only two months ago that John So and the City Council resolved to extend David Pitchford’s employment contract (be it for a reduced two year tenure). If the Ceo performance and financial management has been so bad that John So now finds it necessary to cast blame on David Pickfords performance then why was his contract renewed and why didn’t the City Council put to open public tender the Ceo position?

The Fact remains that John So must share responsibility for the financial blowout. Under John So’s term of Office Melbourne has seen a massive increase in staffing and expenditure. increased income from expanding property values and rate revenue have underpinned the Council’s exuberance and excess. Now reality hits. If the Council fails to act and reduce costs the City Council will be bankrupt in ten years time. Increases in property values and expansion of City development will not save the council from it’s financial fate. Hard decisions need to be made. Decisions that are made worst by John So’s negligence and high expenditure.

The State Government must also act to address the situation. It is not just the City of Melbourne that is under financial pressure other city Councils also are feeling the burden of keeping rate increases to a minimum whilst delivering essential services. Many Councils can not afford the luxuries that the City of Melbourne forks out. Councillors and Staff are treated to numerous benefits, free meals, free booze and 5 star overseas “Fact Finding Excursions” the lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayors have an all expenses paid limousines and a full time drive costing $100,000 a year at the Lord Mayor’s disposal. (the costs of which is not disclosed in the Council’s published expense statements).

The State Government needs to fulfill its promise to the electorate in the lead up to the 2006 State Election. Melbourne City Councils external boundaries need to be reviewed along with its representative model.

Greater Melbourne – Long term efficiency gain

Councilor Peter Clark highlighted the issue when he called for public debate on the creation of a Greater Melbourne and efficiency gains in planning and finance that would benefit Victoria and Melbourne Inner City development.

Cr Clark’s motion was scuttled by John So, who refused to allow debate and consideration of a Greater Melbourne and review of the City Council’s representative model.

The State Government must reject John So head in the sand approach and initiate a review and encourage debate about the possible merger of inner city municipalities as a way of generating greater efficiency and service delivery to Melbourne.