We also, like Cr Davies, feel compelled to write a response to Cr Davies’ recent letter to the editor.
As rate payers we find that the South Gippsland Shire Council is not very clear, unlike Cr Davies, on the council’s position on supporting the community’s concerns on coal seam gas.
Cr Davies would like the readers to think that Cr Fawcett and she were the prime initiators for the resolutions made in June 2012.
Crs Davies and Fawcett were compelled to move the motion because of the overwhelming community pressure at the time.
Since the 2012 resolution, both Crs Davies and Fawcett voted against a number of resolutions requesting the shire to make further motions regarding this issue.
The latest being at the July 22, 2015 council meeting where both Crs Davies and Fawcett voted against a community consultation on non-conventional gas.
Cr Davies states that council has put forward its concerns to related industry, governing bodies and has met with government regulators on a number of occasions and has received briefings from officers and the mining industry.
Cr Davies also states that it is important to the council that concerned residents and land owners are provided with satisfactory details to understand the work the council has been undertaking in relation to coal seam gas.
Cr Davies fails to mention that the council’s website page on coal seam gas under ‘Recent News and Updates’ had out-dated information.
This page was updated in August 2015 and refers to the State Government’s unconventional Gas inquiry in Victoria, which was announced in January 2015. This is not providing the community up to date information.
Of note here is the absence to mention that the South Gippsland Shire has failed the ratepayers by deciding not to make a submission to the enquiry. Submissions were due by July 10.
We can understand Crs McEwan and Hill’s frustration with other councillors when their actions do not reflect their words.
Cr Davies also mentions that Crs McEwan and Hill rarely accept the majority decision and that they are not prepared to work in a collegiate manner and then questions the democracy of their actions.
May we remind Cr Davies that for democracy to work councillors must represent the community’s views and not put forward their own personal opinions.
The 2009 research report, produced by GPS Research, showed that community consultation was in the top three public concerns that the council needs to address.
Cr Davies states that to be effective, a considered and strategic and not a scattergun approach is needed.
The council needs to take note of this statement and start working with and for the community by firstly listening to the community, clearly stating its position and developing a strategy and then working with the community to achieve the chosen goal.
Instead the council has chosen to disregard community concerns.
Cr Brunt has also chosen to attack Crs McEwen and Hill through the media. Both Crs Brunt and Davies say that the motion was poorly worded. This excuse has been used a number of times to reject motions they do not agree with.
What is important is the intent of the motion. If the intent of the motion is acceptable then the councillors should work together to correct the wording.
Cr Brunt states; “A successful council is a council that works together for the good of its ratepayers, not themselves.”
All councillors and council staff should abide by this statement.
Peter and Lorraine Halabarec, South Gippsland Shire ratepayers.