Question Time - Ordinary Meeting of Council - 10 May 2016

The following questions were addressed to the above meeting. Some questions were adequately responded to at the meeting, however others required a more detailed response in writing.

This document includes both verbal and written responses. In this instance, no written responses were provided as issues were adequately addressed at the meeting.

Colin Wallace addressed the Interim Administrator as follows:

  1. Mr Administrator, because the only officer you can hold directly to account if you are not given a clear answer is the CEO, would you ask CEO Kelvin Spiller if the recommendation of ‘and entry/threshold treatment of the First Street approach to Waratah Street’ in 6.7.7. of the Panel Report for Greater Geelong Planning Scheme Amendment C96/Planning Application number 1629/2004 was, in accordance with the Planning and Environment Regulations of the time, submitted to the Minister with a reason or reasons for it not being adopted?

  2. Mr Administrator, since on the face of it the relevant regulation was not complied with in this case, when considering the mechanism for obtaining an answer, would you note that responsibility for complying at that time – 2007 – lay with planners in the Department of City Development under the authority of the Manager of City Development, Joanne Van Slageren, that Joanne Van Slageren is still the Manager of City Development, reporting to the General Manager of Planning and Development, Peter Bettess who in turn reports to the CEO, Kelvin Spiller, who is the only officer you can hold directly to account if you are not given a clear answer?

Yehudi Blacher, Interim Administrator, responded Mr Wallace raised a series of complex statements and indicated a letter of response would be provided in due course.

A subsequent written response was provided by the Chief Executive Officer in the following terms:

I am replying to your questions to the Administrator asked at the above meeting. The Panel recommendation in 6.7.7 of the C96 Panel report arguably relates to the planning permit 1628/2004 rather than Amendment C96. It would be usual for such a threshold treatment to be implemented through a permit condition or agreement rather that through a planning scheme amendment. On this basis the information submitted to the Minister complies with the Regulations. The Panel recommendations relating to the permit are considered under S.96 F of the Planning & Environment Act (the Act). If this interpretation is incorrect, Section 39 (7) of the Act ensures that the amendment is not made invalid by the failure to comply with the prescribed process.

Peter Bettess and William Tieppo have discussed the Panel recommendation and will proceed to implement a threshold treatment along the lines of that shown in plans previously provided to you by Peter Bettess.

Mary Wallace asked:

At the Ordinary Meeting of Council on 13 August 2013, Mayor Keith Fagg was not present when the meeting began. In the chair was Deputy Mayor Bruce Harwood who at the outset told the meeting that the Mayor would be an apology that night. It was customary then for the Governance Co ordinator, located beside the chairperson, to announce requests for leave and the dates for that leave.

Out of the ordinary, Cr Andy Richards with his own lips requested an extension of leave for Mayor Keith Fagg and gave dates, the effect of which was to conceal that Keith Fagg had resumed his mayoral duties. At the previous Council Meeting on 23 July Mayor Keith Fagg was granted leave, the last day of which was 9th August and on the 11th August he had attended a function in his role as Mayor at Geelong Trades Hall.

Dean Frost, currently General Manager of Strategy and Performance, was Acting CEO at the time and was seated next to the chairperson at the start of the Ordinary Meeting of Council on 13th August 2013. The next day, Keith Fagg went to the Premier’s office to tell Premier Denis Napthine of his intention to resign and two days after that Keith Fagg announced his resignation.

Through you, Mr Administrator, I’m asking Dean Frost: was Keith Fagg here at City Hall, in this building on the evening of 13 August 2013?

Yehudi Blacher, Interim Administrator, responded he did not believe it was an appropriate forum for a Council Officer to be questioned, but would provide a response in writing.

A subsequent written response was provided by the General Manager Strategy and Performance in the following terms:

I refer to your attendance at the Council meeting of 10 May 2016 and your participation in Council question time.

In response to your question as to whether former Mayor Keith Fagg was City Hall on the evening of 13 August 2013, I am unable to confirm or deny the whereabouts of Mr Fagg on the evening in question.

This is due to the fact I have no specific recollection of the meeting, which is reasonable given it occurred approximately two an a half years ago.

I note the Council Minutes of 13 August 2013, has recorded the former Mayor Keith Fagg as an apology.

Rob Threlfall addressed the Council in respect to a funding request for St Josephs Football and Netball Club.

Yehudi Blacher, Interim Administrator, responded it was an item that would be best dealt with in consideration of the Budget report this evening. Mr Blacher indicated he would be making some general comments in relation to a number of matters.

Download Question Time