Re: Bass Coast climate emergency – a personal opinion.
What our community was not allowed to hear at the Council meeting held on October 16, 2019.
Council decided not to rescind the climate emergency governance resolution of August 21, 2019, or allow debate thereon.
In that regard, Council had been called upon to show leadership in relation to climate change.
I agree, and let me illustrate the difference between two styles of leadership, namely autocratic and democratic leadership.
Autocratic leadership, or otherwise called authoritarian leadership, is a leadership style involving coercion, command and control. Democratic leadership on the other hand involves the considerable amount of participation in the decision-making process.
In essence, the resolution passed in August 2019 is a prime example of autocratic leadership in that it uses words such as declares, should, directs and includes targets prior to comprehensive and genuine engagement and consultation with our community.
Let me be clear, the resolution in question mandated targets without consultation with our community.
It was not couched in aspirational terms, and this indeed, is tantamount to ‘steamrolling’ over our people, businesses and other organisations without advance discussion.
It is also obvious from community engagement sessions that many interest groups are supportive of this autocratic style of leadership which is not contemporary or effective or relation orientated from a community perspective.
That said, I prefer and support the democratic leadership style with genuine engagement and consultation which encourages freedom of expression, independent thinking and participative decision making across all segments of our community in advance of mandating any targets.
Moreover, there are other reasons why the resolution in question should have been rescinded, namely:
* The confusion around the belief of many people within our community that the August 2019 resolution in question declared a climate emergency. That is not so, that was done in response to a petition at the September 2019 meeting.
* The August 2019 resolution was superfluous and/or redundant in that the September 2019 resolution provided the foundation for well thought out policy settings, strategies and so on with upfront and open community engagement and consultation.
* The August 2019 resolution was flawed in many respects with regard to directions given to the CEO and changing Council plan targets without community engagement and consultation, and may possibly be in breach of the Local Government Act 1989. I have referred this matter to the Chief Municipal Inspector Local Government Inspectorate for determination.
* Recognition that the 2019 local government community satisfaction survey highlighted that Council should focus attention on improving community consultation and engagement given current performance levels and significantly lower than the state-wide and large rural group averages.
I proposed rescission of the August 2019 resolution to ensure Council’s decision was made in the community’s best interest, driven by genuine community engagement and consultation, however I was ‘gagged’ by Council, and I apologise for the absence of good communication and transparency.
Les Larke, Bass Coast Shire Councillor, Fellow Certified Practicing Accountant – CPA Australia.
Democracy… what’s that?