On Tuesday night a public question was asked regarding what our councillor representatives on the Racecourse Reserve Trustees were doing to ensure that the Auditor General recommendations were being fully implemented. Council’s response to this question is quite literally astounding. What is even more astounding is that not one councillor had the courage to stand up and either query this response or, to disassociate him/herself from this nonsense.

The response is in direct conflict with the Auditor General’s report in all facets. Either the Auditor General does not know what he is talking about, or council does not have a clue as to its responsibilities to the community and to proper governance. Here are some quotes from the AG Report –

The management of the reserve was vested in a group of trustees who represented the government, the Melbourne Racing Club (MRC) and the local municipality—Glen Eira City Council. (page vii)

Under the Crown grant, 15 trustees are appointed by the Governor in Council to manage the reserve—six each representing government and the Melbourne Racing Club (MRC) and three representing Glen Eira City Council. (page ix)

More recently, the government and Glen Eira council trustee representatives have recognised that governance standards in line with contemporary practice should be introduced. (page xii)

The land was permanently reserved in the 19th century for three purposes—a racecourse, public recreation ground and public park. Management of the reserve is vested in 15 trustees—six government nominees, six Melbourne Racing Club (MRC) nominees and three council nominees representing the local municipality, Glen Eira City Council. (page 1)

Within the trust, there have been differing views about how these competing uses can be reconciled. More recently, this has created tensions between trustees representing the Melbourne Racing Club (MRC) and those representing the government and Glen Eira City Council. (page 26)

The make-up of the trust enables MRC, Glen Eira City Council and state government views to be considered as part of its decision-making processes. Until recently, however, members of the local community had no direct means of engaging with trustees on matters of importance to them. They had to rely on council representatives to present their views. (page 28)

Each and every one of these Auditor General statements establishes that Lipshutz, Hyams and Esakoff are REPRESENTATIVES of Glen Eira Council and therefore the local community. They are ‘directed’ by Council in the interests of the local community.

Yet, the response to the public question denies this obligation, and flies in the face of not only the Auditor General’s report, but community views and expectations. If Hyams, Lipshutz, and Esakoff do NOT represent the community via council, then they should be sacked immediately or have the good grace to resign forthwith.

Here is the question and the official Council ‘response’ – it cannot be deemed an ‘answer’!

 

“In September the Victorian Auditor General published the report on the Management and Oversight of the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve. I attach copy 3B of page 38 “Access and signage issues at the reserve” and I ask you to note that there are 22 out of 24 indicators of inadequate access. Please tell me what instructions our councillor members of the C.R.R.T., Cr Esakoff, Cr Hyams and Cr Lipshutz are being given at council to overcome this undesirable situation as the VAG in Clause 6 Page 39 recommended the need to “upgrade public access and improve signage at all entry access points and within the reserve to a standard that improves safety and encourages increased community use.”

The Mayor read Council’s response. He said:

“Although three councillors are trustees of the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve, they serve as trustees in their own rights, not as representatives or delegates of Council, and therefore, Council does not instruct them.”

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