Spring Street backrooms don’t equate to more transparency
For councils it is a relief to finally see IBAC’s Operation Sandon report released.
The behaviour described in the report is unacceptable and reflects poorly on all involved.
MAV President Cr David Clark said while the council at the centre of the investigation was dealt with swiftly, a range of other key players have not yet faced any consequences for their role in these matters.
“All Victorians will want to know what consequences await the other key participants in this saga, including past and current members of parliament, lobbyists, and individuals and entities within the development sector,” Cr Clark said.
“The issues interrogated by Operation Sandon should be of interest to us all given they affect multiple parts of public administration in the state,” Cr Clarke said.
Cr Clark said the MAV will work through the planning recommendations with the sector.
“The recommendations offer an important opportunity to improve transparency and accountability within the planning system.”
It is essential that the recommended taskforce meaningfully consult with the MAV, as the peak for the local government sector, particularly around recommendations to set up independent planning panels and take statutory planning powers away from councillors.
“With the report clearly stating that corruption risk cannot be resolved by transferring responsibility from elected councillors to a minister, it would be a travesty for the Andrews Government to use the findings to centralise planning powers within the backrooms of Spring Street,” Cr Clark said.
The report recommends a suite of changes to governance, building on the already significant reforms introduced in the Local Government Act 2020.
“As the most transparent level of government, we know how important the governance recommendations are and we’re committed to working through them with our members and the State Government.”
“We must ensure these recommendations enhance community trust, which is critical for all levels of government, but particularly for local government” Cr Clark said