Minister Moves To Get Darebin City Council Back On Track

Minister for Local Government, Natalie Hutchins, today expressed her disappointment in Darebin City Council’s failure to effectively govern on behalf of its residents, businesses and broader community.

Ms Hutchins tabled the final report from Municipal Monitor, Mr Peter Lewinsky in Parliament today. The report clearly identifies a number of key governance issues that Council still needs to address.

Mr Lewinsky was appointed as the Monitor at Darebin by the former Government in January 2014 and during his time the Council has made some good improvements but there is still much work to be done to get Darebin City Council back on track.

The report found that councillors need to improve their cooperation and decision-making. Councillors need to improve their capacity to work together to deal with council business in a respectful, transparent and timely manner. Stronger administrative processes also need to be put in place to ensure effective compliance with council policies by both councillors and staff.

To resolve these issues and strengthen Darebin City Council, Ms Hutchins has requested the appointment of two special inspectors of Municipal Administration to work with the Council on a short-term basis. Their job will be to support councillors and council staff in developing agreed processes that will lead to a better governance culture.

Ms Hutchins said that by tabling the report and correspondence between herself and the Council in a transparent manner, the local community get the accountability they deserve and greater confidence that the governance of the municipality would be improved.

Together with all councils in Victoria, elections will be held for Darebin City Council in October next year. This will provide an opportunity for the Darebin community to hold their councillors to account.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Local Government, Natalie Hutchins

“Like many local residents over the last few months, I am very disappointed to see Council distracted from its job.”

“The Council, assisted by two special inspectors, will get their priorities straight and complete the task of ensuring good governance and better services for their community.”

“The Darebin community deserves no less, and they will ultimately hold the Council to account at the next election.”

“I would like to thank Mr Lewinsky for his work as monitor.”

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