Maribyrnong’s ALP Mayor Michael Clarke has convinced his fellow Councillors it would be a good idea for Council to consider growing medicinal pot, to raise revenue so they can lower rates.
At the Council meeting on September 14 Councillors supported Cr Clarke’s motion to survey community attitude to the idea and to use Council resources to provide a feasibility report to the November Council meeting.
The Mayor’s fellow ALP councillor Sarah Carter seconded the motion and it was passed.
The wording of the motion was completely disingenuous. It implied the only way residents could get lower rates is if Council finds new revenue streams.
The motion also contained no estimated costs or factual background on the size of the industry, the length of time it might take to establish such an industry, any business case for Council to become involved in such an industry, nor any estimate of how much revenue could be raised and the estimated impact on the level of future rates.
But at least Councillors did vote to ask residents first.
The survey appeared on the Council’s community feedback portal immediately following the Council meeting, so it appears staff already knew it was going to go ahead.
There are only 5 questions in the community survey and they are all about raising revenue.
There are no questions relating to cutting costs.
In fact, Council has never sought suggestions from residents on ways to cut spending.
Even during submissions on the Budget, Councillors ignore residents’ suggestions and submissions on items that could be cut or reduced: such as high managerial salaries, exorbitant Councillor allowances and million dollar lobbying consultants.
The Local Government Act 2020 was supposed to usher in a new era for community consultation and Council accountability.
It’s become worse.