Playing Possum John So continues to waste city limited resources

More ratepayer money misspent.
The Herald Sun today published a report highlighting the hypocrisy and financial irresponsibility of the City of Melbourne in allocating council funds and limited public resources.

Whilst the City of Melbourne has a duty of care, Law and order is the overall responsibility of the State Government.

The $60,000 allocated for security by the City of Melbourne be would have been better spent providing housing or improved health services for Melbourne disadvantaged.

Some may try and shift the focus back on to the aboriginal protests but the fact remains that it is the City Council that is responsible for the financial management of City funds.

Perhaps it is time that John So give back the possum coat that he claims is his, even though it was given to him in his capacity of Melbourne’s Lord Mayor.

$60,000 fee for protest
Jen Kelly and Peter Mickelborough

SECURITY costs for the Aboriginal protest camp have rocketed to $60,000 – and the bill continues to soar even though guards are barely seen.

Residents are furious Melbourne City Council continues to splurge wads of cash on guards while only a handful of protesters remain. And the derelict caravan that protesters are sleeping in copped another $50 parking fine yesterday.

The council said it paid $20,000-$30,000 a week for six guards 24 hours a day at the Kings Domain camp for the 13 days to Anzac Day. Since Wednesday, it has been cut back to three guards by day and four by night.

Yesterday afternoon only one guard remained in view of the campsite.

He was stationed about 150m from the protesters, with only a partial view of the camp, and said his colleagues were patrolling in a Ute.

Regular visitors say few guards have been seen at the site in recent days, and those who did appear kept their distance.

Council spokesman Cr David Wilson said one of the guards’ duties was to ensure camping gear was removed. It was present yesterday but out of sight for the distant guard.

Southbank Residents Group president Joe Bagnara said the cost of security was out of hand.

“Apart from curious onlookers there’s only a handful of people,” he said.

Mr Bagnara called on the council to take the security cost from its entertainment budget for staff and councillors.

ABORIGINAL park rangers and fisheries and wildlife officers will be given responsibility for reviewing indigenous cultural heritage implications of state planning and development.

The move follows the sacking of 48 volunteer indigenous inspectors — including the woman who issued an emergency declaration to protect the fire in Kings Domain.

The axing of the inspectors means they will not be able to act to extend the 30-day order protecting the Kings Domain fire when it expires on May 10