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Statement on South Gippsland Shire dismissal

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The South Gippsland community will be left without elected local representation following the Minister for Local Government’s decision to dismiss the Council.

There have been ongoing governance issues at the Shire, with a Monitor appointed by the Minister last June following a recommendation from the Local Government Inspectorate about concerns over governance procedures and practices.

Last month the Minister initiated a Commission of Inquiry, and provided opportunity for the Council to respond to a notice outlining why it should not be suspended. There have also been six councillor resignations over the past eight months.

Cr Coral Ross, President of the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) said as a matter of principle, the dismantling of a democratically-elected government is never the optimum solution.

“However the situation at South Gippsland Shire has been difficult for some time, and has impeded the Council’s ability to work together and make decisions for and on behalf of their community.

“We seek an assurance from the Minister for Local Government that due process was followed before reaching the dismissal decision.

“We will further be requesting a briefing from the Minister on the process to ensure local democracy is returned to the South Gippsland community in a timely manner.

“Now the work begins to restore public confidence in the Council, which has many dedicated staff who do a great job providing local services, programs and infrastructure for their community.

“The MAV is committed to working with the Council to restore good governance and ensure the best outcomes for the people of South Gippsland Shire,” she said.

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Contact Cr Coral Ross on 0438 005 225 or MAV Communications on 9667 5521.