The free flow of information is paramount to the continued freedom upon which our democracy is based.
We strongly believe that withholding information seriously disadvantages ratepayers and the community as a whole.
It also impacts negatively on council’s reputation and standing in the community. Of deep concern to our members is the ducking and weaving experienced when questions are asked.
We believe that ‘question dodging’, or ‘pivoting’ is not in accordance with the South Gippsland Shire Council’s much promoted values of honesty, openness and integrity.
The habitual refusal to provide requested details with non-defined generalisations, hiding behind legislation and regulations, we regard as meaningless attempts to avoid scrutiny and accountability.
References to one of the accounting bodies whose members provide many more financial details than council, we find most unprofessional.
We see nowhere in these rules, acts, regulations, or requirements that it is prohibited for council to provide the requested information.
We require council to cease hiding behind these artificial, self-made barriers and act in accordance with the much proclaimed values, in particular openness and honesty.
Mr Mayor, we hereby request the following information:
In printed format handed to us without qualifications, for each financial year ended June 30, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, comprehensive financial details related to all aspects of the Council’s Caravan Park Operations. For the financial year ended June 30, 2017 we can wait until such time relevant financial information is available, audited and finalised.
Financial details to include, but are not limited to, all relevant external and internal costs. In accordance with a reputable organisation we expect relevant internal costs (wages, salaries and on costs, for example) to be available as a matter of routine, including all other relevant costs such as motor vehicle and others as well as a schedule of relevant positions.
Please note: we never ask for anything related to individuals such as names or individual’s remuneration. The Privacy Act does not apply.
Capital Expenditure for each year must be provided on a separate schedule.
If costs are not available we require a statement of detailed reasons for non-availability and a schedule of detailed close cost estimates.
We consider this information to be available on a routine basis as part of daily operations and as such can be assembled in a minimum of time and available without any difficulty.
We are disinterested in glossy reports and other propaganda material and specifically request all relevant facts presented in simple format and in all encompassing, full detail.
In addition, we require that all provided documentation must be signed by the CEO and countersigned by the Mayor as proof of authenticity and as guarantee that all related costs have been provided.
Gus Blaauw (treasurer), Steve Findlay (president), Otto Ippel (vice-president), Lindsay Love (secretary) of South Gippsland Action Group.