What does ‘Report to Council’ mean, especially when part of a proposed ‘Action Plan’ that is the foundation of a Community/Council Plan? In other councils such a phrase would be self evident – ie an officer’s report tabled and discussed at an ordinary council meeting. Not in Glen Eira. Here it can mean anything and everything, including disappearing entirely and never to be heard of again.

We’ve compared the 2012/2013 Action Plan against the objectives for the coming financial year and there are indeed some strange goings on. Apart from the usual humbug of measures not having anything whatsoever to do with objectives, there are many ‘reports to council’ which never saw the light of day in a transparent and accountable fashion. Perhaps they never even landed in the hands of councillors behind those tightly closed doors? Here is just a sample and we cite verbatim:

  1. Review and update council policy ‘Exclusion of Specific Developments’ from the Residential Parking Permit Scheme to implement measures to ensure multi-dwellings provide adequate on-site car parking. MEASURE: Report a revised policy to Council.
  2. Investigate the feasibility and applicability of introducing a Development Contributions Plan. MEASURE: Report provided to Council.(We note that on June 28th 2011 this was removed from the Planning Scheme. This also applies to the ‘Transition Zone’ policy which we discover is now ‘on hold’)
  3. Council Engagement Strategy and consultation processes reviewed. MEASURE: Engagement strategy updated and posted on Council’s website. (Please note that the Engagement strategy was last looked at by council on the 11th October 2011. Not only hasn’t this been revisited since but the full policy is nowhere to be found on Council’s website. What is up there is the pathetic little ‘6 steps’ which date back to at least 2009).

There are many, many more omissions and changes that the current Community Plan does not even mention or account for. Residents should not have to scour through the fine print in order to discover what is truly happening. Nor should secrecy and the pathetic games of semantics replace transparency and good governance. When the stated outcome is ‘report provided to council’ that must mean one thing only – a full and comprehensive document that is produced in the agenda for ordinary council meetings. We repeat ourselves ad nauseum – secrecy is the opposite of good governance, transparency and accountability.

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