AN ELECTED Liberal-Nationals Government has reconfirmed its 2014 commitment to fund a municipal review for Phillip Island – which could see the tourist hotspot become its own shire.
It follows a petition of over 8000 residents calling for a review to determine whether Phillip Island should form a separate local council municipality, Bass MP Brian Paynter said last week.
“Ratepayers and residents in Phillip Island are frustrated, feeling there is a disparity between the rates they are contributing to the council and the level of services they are receiving on the island,” Mr Paynter said.
The process to establish whether a Phillip Island Shire Council will be formed has two steps – a review of the Bass Coast Shire’s rates, charges and service provision to Phillip Island and a referendum to give residents their choice on the creation of a standalone Phillip Island Shire Council.
The rates, charges and service review will determine if a standalone council would be both financially and socially sustainable, Mr Paynter said.
The following vote on creating a new council would occur no later than the end of November 2019, allowing a new council to be established for the 2020 council elections.
“If determined favourable by the review, and supported by the referendum, a future Phillip Island Council will ensure that local people will have a much greater say in how their community develops and the sorts of services and infrastructure that their council provides,” Mr Paynter said.
“Despite a commitment from the previous Liberal Nationals Government, in 2015 Daniel Andrews refused to allow the promised review to proceed, snatching control from the ratepayers and residents to determine what kind of place they want to live in.
Mr Paynter said the Liberal-Nationals believe it’s important that the Phillip Island community has a say and control over decisions affecting the community on the island.
“The review will provide a comprehensive picture of the services and facilities provided to island residents, and establish whether they are consistent with community needs.
“A Liberal-Nationals Government will give residents the control they deserve to determine what type of community they want to live in.
“This issue has gone on for too long and it’s time to put it to bed. The Phillip Island residents and ratepayers should be able to determine their future and this review will give them exactly that opportunity.”