Welcome to Ratepayers Victoria Incorporated, advocating for Collaboration, Accountability & Transparency. Our 2022 vision is a future where Victorian ratepayers are highly connected, value adding and engaging to increase their councils’ and state agencies’ propensity to achieve higher council rates affordability and local liveability. Our blog highlights the latest news and issues affecting ratepayers. Visit our Facebook.
Dodgy council claims
TOM MINEAR AND KIERAN ROONEY
We pay for booze, fines and even spas
TAXPAYERS have been slugged with the cost of boozy lunches, parking fines, shots of alcohol and trips to wineries and beauty spas by councillors and staff across the state.
A scathing investigation by Victoria’s Auditor-General has concluded that councils are failing to meet ratepayers’ expectations with their frivolous and secretive use of public money.
It uncovered scores of questionable expenses, including a $298 lunch for Strathbogie council staff with beer, wine, vodka and other “shots”.
A Strathbogie manager also paid for drinks at a pub for “good morale after busy week”, and twice visited a cafe on weekends, saying it was for meetings even though a children’s meal was purchased.
Wellington Shire spent $1349 on a dinner for new councillors and their partners, while cans of pre-mixed alcohol drinks and a $171 case of wine were purchased as “meeting supplies”, even though the council maintained councillors did not drink on the job.
Wyndham’s chief executive billed ratepayers more than $180 at two bookshops while in Canberra for a conference, as well as $73 at a cocktail bar.
The report, from acting Auditor-General Dave Barry, analysed spending by Wellington, Strathbogie, Wyndham and Shepparton councils, and found major gaps in corruption controls. Strathbogie council received particularly heavy scrutiny over cases including: THE chief executive and a councillor having two parking fines totalling $310 paid because they “did not intend to risk parking illegally”;
AN executive receiving $21,700 for rent based on a “loose” salary packaging agreement;
A COUNCILLOR claiming almost $3500 for home phone and internet expenses — despite having a work mobile phone; and
STAFF being sold taxpayerfunded fleet cars as much as $15,000 below market value, with one given a vehicle — bought for $42,000 in 2014 — for free in an exit package.
Questions were also raised about the $4.9 million spent on 256 credit cards by Wyndham staff, including a $534 “monthly working lunch” for executives.
The report revealed Wyndham councillors received an $800 lump sum printing allowance even though they could access council office printers.
Council credit cards were also used for accommodation, food and drinks, and visits to tourists attractions by staff who were on leave.
Local Government Minister Adem Somyurek moved to reassure Victorians that most councils were “not interested in boozy lunches”.
Cash reserves held by local Council’s in Australian $21 Billion
Queensland crime and corruption Commission made 31 recommendations to clean up local Council’s
West Australia 700 Allegations in 2006 relating to misconduct.fraud or corruption.
Monash Council CR lake file is as long as your arm. Sexual assault & female abuse, Bullying, Credit card fraud, breaches of the Code of conduct, the CEO refuses to take any action.
Logan City loses its council due to Corruption :The entire Logan City Council has been sacked and replaced by an administrator after corruption and fraud claims led to the suspension of the mayor and eight councillors.
In August 2017, Ipswich City Council was dismissed after two consecutive mayors and chief executives, as well as other staff and contractors, were charged with corruption offences.
Councillor Stacey McIntosh was also suspended, facing allegations of $184,000 fraud
.Gippsland Council 6 councillors resign, administrator appointed.
There is the recent case again in Ipswich in December 2018 ,four council staff and a contractor were jailed for between four and eight years for corruption
The list goes on and on all at the expense of ratepayers.
Unlike the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) who receive $57 million yearly from Federal ,State and councils, we do not receive a cent from any government body whatsoever despite several attempts to get funding for full time staff and must rely on the ratepayers and residents to assist us financially
Posted on June 2019
Ratepayers Victoria Inc
Aiming to be the peak advocacy body for all Victorian Ratepayers,we encourage the formation of new Ratepayers Associations from various cities.
To Date we are proud to be communicating with the following groups
3228 Residents association inc (Torquay)
Ararat Rural City Ratepayers Association
Bass Coast Ratepayers and Residents Association Inc.
Baw Baw Shire Ratepayers & citizens Association
Bendigo Greater Ratepayers Assoc.
Casey resident and Ratepayers ASS.
Central GoldFields Ratepayers
Colac Otway Ranges Ratepayers & residents
East Gippsland Shire Ratepayers
Fawkner Residents Association
Frankston Save our Suburbs
Golden Plains Ratepayers & Residents Association
Greater Dandenong Ratepayers
Knox Ratepayers Ass
Latrobe City Ratepayers Ass
Loddon Shire Residents & Ratepayers
Macedon Ranges residents Ass
Morland Shire Ratepayers
Mornington Peninsula Ratepayers & Residents Ass.
Moyne Residents and Ratepayers Action Group Inc.
Mt Martha Ratepayers
Phillip Island Ratepayers
Port Phillip Ratepayers
Oakleigh Planning central
Nillumbik Ratepayers Association
Mildura Ratepayers Victorian
Swan Hill Rural City Ratepayers Ass
Whitehorse Ratepayers& Residents Ass.
Whittlesea Ratepayers Ass.
Yarra Ranges Ratepayers
Whittlesea Council withdrew its membership of the MAV, ( Municipal Association Victoria)this in our opinion would make Cr Lalios of the Whittlesea Council ineligible to continue as President or a reprehensive of the Whittlesea Council as they are no longer a financial member of the MAV.
However Monash Bully boy Cr Lake decided that she should remain as president for the contractual term of her appointment and took the case to the Supreme Court.
MR lake is suing the Mav for his costs in this matter, again weather he wins or loses it ratepayers funds.
Weather Cr Lalios is eligible to remain as a member of the board is a matter for the court to decide.
Ratepayers Victoria Inc states that the MAV does not represent Ratepayers or make any decisions that would benefit Ratepayers, there for all councils should terminate membership of the MAV it is another abuse of ratepayers funds.
Councils have no fund of its own, all funds and assets belong to the ratepayers, why should ratepayers pay for services that do not benefit ratepayers.
We request that all local council terminate Financial MAV membership
Ratepayers Victoria Inc
Press release after 17 years nothing has changed
Monash Journal Newspaper
13 / 1/ 02
Ethics Committee Proposal abandoned
At the Council meeting on the 12th November three Councillors with the support of the
Mayor Cr Lake condemned a proposal by Cr. Vlahos to establish an ethics committee of three community representatives and two Councillors who would consider any complaints or inappropriate behavior of councillors.
Cr Vlahos’s proposal of a draft recommendation was followed by an amendment by Cr. Klisaris and seconded by Cr Evens that would instead refer all complaint to the Mayor for his consideration.
This lead to a heated debate between Councillors, Cr Klisaris then stated that Cr. Vlahos’ phone account was excessive and that he should provide the Council with a list of the names all of the persons that he spoke to, on the phone provided by Council.
Cr. Vlahos reminded the council that the request was in breach of the privacy laws.
This followed with an amendment to the motion and then an amendment to the amendment to the point where it became obvious that some Councillors had very little knowledge of the correct procedure or in fact any understanding of the Local law.
After considerable frustration Cr Vlahos withdrew his proposal to establish an ethics committee that would have given the Ratepayers a forum to hold Councillors responsible for their actions.
The Monash Ratepayers Association is totally disappointed again in the childish behavior of some of our elected representative it would seem that some councillors were concerned that they could be held responsible for their actions .
President Jack Davis who attends every Council meeting, is of the opinion that some of these so called councillors have no understanding of the correct procedure or any understanding of the Local Government Act .
The Monash Ratepayers Association video all meetings of Council, copies are available to any member by contacting the President on 9798 1973
Jack Davis J.P
President M.R.P.Ass. Inc
Bully boy Lake still at it
Posted on 27th May,2019 by ratep
Cr Lakes history with Monash Council in regards to his constant bulling is well documented and goes back a long way.
To name a few.
• Verbal and sexist remarks to Cr Mc Gee – this matter was referred to the Sexual Discrimination Committee.
• As Mayor his intrusion at Cr Morrissey’s place of business that resulted in a court order against Lake.
• Cr Jenny Solity who had a mental break down over his attacks on her.
• Not forgetting his misleading accusation at a council meeting in regards to Huntingdale Hall Management of inappropriate management of hall funds, causing my wife Beaty Davis, who was at that time the Secretary, to stress out so much to see her name dragged through the newspaper, that she had a heart attack.
This accusation was later proven by a council audit officer to be a false and misleading accusation.
• Today’s (Tuesday 30/10/18) Herald Sun is another example of his bullying.
His comment that stated the President of the Mulgrave Club: quote The country clubs directors are Pasty old white men.
He then used the Council May Monash bulletin stating again that the Mulgrave Country Club board Consist of entirely of old white men.
Lakes comment resulted in a complaint to the Human Rights Committee.
Not forgetting in 2013 Lake was dumped as candigate for Hotham when it was reported he verbally abused a female councillor at a council meeting
The list goes on and on.
Any apology by Lake now would be meaningless.
Councilor Lake should be stood down subject to the complaint to the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights.
Finally the Mayor Cr Paul Kisaris should not have allowed Councilor Lake to continue with his bullying and scandalmonger comments at a council meeting.
Jack Davis JP
:A step in the right direction:
The Local Government Inspectorate has been allocated increased funding for extra resources and provide greater assurance to the community that their council is operating within the law.
Announced in the Victorian State Budget today, the additional funding will provide four new municipal inspectors to support the Inspectorate’s work with 79 Victorian councils.
Chief Municipal Inspector David Wolf said: “The increasing demand for and scope of our work has challenged our existing capacity, and the support from councils, the community and government for our office to gain additional resources has been realised. We welcome the investment from the State Government, which will continue to strengthen the integrity system.”
“The funding will help the Inspectorate deliver on its commitment to address complaints in a timely manner, which allows us to deliver better outcomes for people raising issues and for the sector overall.”
“We will also be able to focus more effort on proactively addressing the systemic issues in the sector which impact on and are ultimately at the expense of the community.”
Media outlets with enquiries can contact:
Steve Pogonowski, Senior Communications Adviser
email@example.com or 0437 541 972
For more information on the Local Government Inspectorate and our work, visit our website www.lgi.vic.gov.au
9th May 2019
The Andrews Labor Government is ensuring the South Gippsland Shire Council is accountable to the ratepayers they represent.
Minister for Local Government Adem Somyurek today announced his intention to hold a Commission of Inquiry into the South Gippsland Shire Council under section 209 of the Local Government Act 1989.
The Commission will look at the stability of the Council, the behaviours of individual councillors, the process of hiring a CEO and the efficiency and effectiveness of governance arrangements in delivering services to the community.
The Local Government Act 1989 provides the inquiry with broad ranging powers including summoning witnesses, requiring the production of documents and full access to the Council and its documents.
The Monitor’s final report recommended the Council be suspended and an administrator be appointed. On 2 April 2019, the Minister provided the Council with the Monitor’s report and it was asked to respond within 28 days, including what steps it had taken to address the issues in the monitor’s report.
Suspending the council is still under consideration and the Council’s response and the final report from the Municipal Monitor will be carefully considered by the Minister and the Commission of Inquiry.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Local Government Adem Somyurek
“I am very concerned at what is going on at the South Gippsland Shire, the Commission – which has inquisitorial powers – will get to the bottom of it and I will table the findings in the Parliament.”
“Like the ratepayers and residents of South Gippsland, I want a stable Council that functions effectively, governs well, delivers the services the community needs and represents the area.”
After a recent meeting with the new local government minister ,Adem Somyurek , the minister encouraged RPV to form more ratepayer groups.
RPV did have the pleasure of telling the minister that we have opened up 10 new ratepayer groups in the last 15 months, the latest in Stonnington, where some 90 people turned up to a public meeting for this purpose. On the night itself, the committee was formed and RPV have the pleasure of saying that this new ratepayer group in a short time has become a real force.
The new Stonnington Ratepayers Group have recently supported their ratepayers at regarding a contentious planning issue with the matter being aired on Channel 7 news recently.
The power of a ratepayer group?
RPV recently supported Maribyrnong with the forming of their ratepayer group.
This new group at Maribyrnong recently set up a stall at the Yarraville festival on a Sunday morning and some 150 people signed up to join.
Our ratepayers are “crying out” for assistance regarding problems with their councils.
How RPV set up a new group is that they find a coordinator at a council , who will book a Hall to hold a public meeting.
Turn around time is usually about 4 weeks as that gives the coordinator time to advertise the public meeting.
RPV usually attend this public meeting to explain the benefits of a ratepayer group at this and to obtain expressions of interests from the attendees to begin.
After this public meeting, the coordinator contacts those interested parties to have another meeting so as to form the new committee.
It is important to realise that after this public meeting, the new committee of the new ratepayer group run their group as they see fit.
RPV are there in the back ground to give advice and guidance on matters that the new group are unsure of.
In the coming weeks, RPV will assist in forming a new ratepayer group at Maroondah shortly under this same process.
A public meeting has been called for on the 30th May 9, 2019 at Croydon (-need clarity here, was the meeting on the 9th, or an announcement on the 9th for the 30th???)
Ass well as this, RPV have recently been approached by a Miora ratepayer, (Yarrawonga), to set up a ratepayer group at their council.
RPV hope that this new group will be up and running within 4 weeks.
As you can imagine, councils do not like ratepayer groups that act to keep them accountable.
For any further advice please contact RPV regarding the setting up of a new ratepayer group on 0438555805.
Comments to Moorabool News from Ratepayers
Tip Vouchers Once again we have an example of the tail wagging the dog
Clearly the bureaucrats and some Councillors have little regards for over tax Ratepayers.
The $5000 cost of providing free tip voucher can be offset by the reductions in many other areas,indeed I would support two independent reports into the economic viability of all councils as around 80% of council income is required to maintain the councils, and around 20% is used to provide services to ratepayers.
In the 21st century there is no requirement for councils to exist in there current form and change must come and due to space limitations, I cannot provide more details as to how and what changes should happen.
In closing I and all of my friends will exercise our democratic rights and not vote for councillors who opposed free tip vouchers .
I welcome comments from those councillors.
Tip Vouchers Dumped
Time for Moorabool Shire Council to be removed …Everything from Moorabool East goes to Melton Shire and everything west go to Ballarat. Moorabool shire council has shown its incompetence for way too long.
How can we have some of the hightest rates but get the least services.
Scott Klauber agreed. I want to be part of Ballarat Shire.
We are on the ar..’ end corner of Moorabool like a dag on a sheep Or even better,Golden Plains shire would be great.