TRUE or false, claims that the South Gippsland Shire Council was making provision to build a new $32 million shire office complex in Leongatha didn’t play well with voters.
That’s the view of successful South Gippsland Shire candidate, Alyson Skinner, who said fears about another Leongatha Taj Mahal only fuelled existing concerns that the old council was too ‘Leongatha centric’.
“I’m unclear about the shire’s plans for a new office, library and community centre. There’s conflicting information which is just the point really,” said councillor-elect Skinner last Sunday.
“The message has been confused on this and on many other things.
“If there’s a good reason why we need a new office and library in five years’ time, then good, put it on the table for everyone to see.
“There has clearly been a backlash against the sitting councillors, for whatever reason, true or false, and people want to see a new flavour and a new approach.”
Ms Skinner topped the poll in Coastal Promontory ward, where there is now three new councillors; Alyson Skinner (1128 primary votes), Ray Argento (1127) and Jerermy Rich (858), and she’s not surprised people voted for a change.
“People believe I will be fair, that I will represent our community and that I have the skills to work with the other councillors.
“And I will be working to see that it’s a very open council.
“I don’t believe that there are many issues that should be secret or that council can’t discuss in the open.
“I’d also like to see council being more mobile, and going out to other areas as a link to the community.
“I plan on providing regular opportunities to get together with the community, for an exchange of information; a report from me about what’s been going on at council and some feedback from them on what they think.”

Promises, promises
Ms Skinner said all councillors would be coming to the table with personal goals and she acknowledged that the land sales issue in Venus Bay was one of her pet concerns.
“That one has really got peoples’ goat and it’s going to be a difficult issue for me but as long as the council is being open and transparent about what they want to do; we can work through it.
“That goes for all the issues councillors want to bring to the table.
“And we’ve got to get real about making information available. For goodness sake it’s not the state or federal government. We’re trying to do the best for our local community.
“There should be very few issues that are considered confidential,” she said.
“As a new council, we’ve got some challenges ahead, which is why we simply must work together.”