Local Government Must be Accountable and Transparent
Member for Western Victoria Region, Bev McArthur used an adjournment debate in parliament this week to raise concerns over the mistreatment of councillors by dictatorial local governments. She directed her concerns to the Minister for Local Government seeking action from the government to ensure all local governments are kept transparent and accountable.
Bev McArthur recalled the on-going difficulties being encountered by Cr Heather Wellington of the Surf Coast Shire, who lodged Freedom of Information applications as a private citizen to access two documents to determine whether they should be made available to the public. In response, someone from the Council then lodged an allegation with the Local Government Inspectorate that Cr Wellington had misused her position as a councillor. Cr Wellington was rightfully absolved of the allegation on the 8th of May.
Bev McArthur said “local governments, like all forms of government, should be accountable and transparent. Cr Wellington was merely attempting to uphold these principles, yet she continues to be met with intense obfuscation, investigation and antagonism.”
Bev McArthur said “the Shire’s refusal to release information demonstrates their clear preference for secrecy over transparency and accountability.”
“The action I seek from the minister is to establish what actions he and this government are taking to keep all local governments transparent and accountable while assuring Victorians that interference in the proper scrutiny of government by elected representatives is not impeded by executive officers and councillors,” she concluded.
31 May 2019