Question Time - Ordinary Meeting of Council - 27 September 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.

Ian Kelly raised questions in relation to the Saleyards at both the Community Engagement and Council Meetings. Council acknowledges these questions and will provide a written response within 14 days.

A written response to Mr Kelly was provided by the Acting General Manager, City Services on 6 October 2016.

Ian Kelly asked the following question on behalf of Heather Wellington in relation to the Saleyards:

  1. I am deeply concerned at the CoGG proposal to close the Saleyards. 26% of trade through the Saleyards comes from the Shire. In June 2015 the CoGG Council committed to ‘work with neighbouring Councils to identify and develop a suitable regional solution with the view to initiating a future staged withdrawal from Saleyards operations’. To my knowledge this has not occurred and there is now a proposal, during caretaker period, for the Saleyards to be closed. Although CoGG itself is not in caretaker period it should recognise the impact of this potential decision on neighbouring municipalities and the constraints they are currently under in making their view heard.

    I ask that CoGG defers this item until neighbouring Councils exit caretaker period and have an appropriate opportunity to consider the issue and be heard.

    The investment required to maintain and continue to operate the Saleyards is modest compared with the benefit it brings (both economic and social) to small producers in the region.

    The questions were acknowledged and taken on notice for a written response within 14 days.

A subsequent written response was provided by the Acting General Manager City Services in the following terms:

Thank you for submitting your questions regarding the Geelong Saleyards.

At the Community Engagement Meeting at Grovedale on 21 September 2016, the City’s Administrators listened to a number of people from the region’s farming community express their views on the Geelong Saleyards. The Administrators also noted the engineering challenges and cost to make this ageing facility comply with modern safety requirements.

They subsequently met with VFF members on Thursday 22 September 2016 to discuss the matter further.

I also write to advise you of Council’s recent decision at its meeting on the 27 September 2016:

  1. to pursue a staged withdrawal of operations at the Geelong Saleyards;

  2. notes the extensive consultation undertaken by Council Officers, which included producers, agents, regional saleyard operators and officers of the Surf Coast Shire, Borough of Queenscliffe, Golden Plains Shire and Colac Otway Shire;

  3. notes that it was unforeseen that the Saleyards would close due to safety concerns before a transition plan was developed for staged withdrawal;

  4. requests Officers to undertake additional consultation for further consideration at the 22 November 2016 Council meeting.

Noting your concerns regarding the caretaker period for Council’s, a facilitated workshop is planned in early November where representatives from adjacent Councils can have their say. We have written to the CEO at each of the surrounding G21 municipalities seeking stakeholder contacts to attend the workshop.

If you require additional information or have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

Gray Barton asked the following in relation to the Portarlington Structure Plan:

  1. The 2016 Portarlington Structure Plan removes the right of all home owners to shared seaviews as per the 2007 structure plan and can you explain why this right was removed.

  2. At the June C321 panel meeting members of the Bellarine Group sound out proposal in support of C321 with purchase of Seaspray Farm as some kind of satellite housing estate for Portarlington clearly in the Green belt! Shouldn’t the community been involved in working parties on these structural plans?

    Joanne Van Slageren responded that the Portarlington Structure Plan was originally adopted in May 2016. Neither the May or the new September 2016 Portarlington Structure Plan removes planning controls that consider the sharing of views. Parts of Portarlington are applied with the Design and Development Overlay Schedule 14, which triggers a planning permit for dwellings above 7.5m in height.

    Similarly, the Spray Farm Estate is unaffected by Amendment C321 and changes to the Portarlington Structure Plan. This property is outside the Portarlington Settlement Boundary and remains in the Farming Zone.

Kathy Alexander (Chair) read out the following question which was submitted by Michael Tucker at the Community Engagement Meeting on 21 September:

Where may one make submissions regarding the structure plan for Barwon Heads. Is there a web page being developed so the community may raise positive thoughts and concerns which will allow others to see previously submissions or messages?

Joanne Van Slageren responded that Council has responded to Mr Tucker and advised him of the links and information available on the website.

Mary Wallace asked which Manager the Co ordinator of Governance and Legal Services reports to?

Tim McDonald responded the Co ordinator of Governance and Legal Services reports to the Manager Customer Service and Council Business.

Tom O’Connor asked Council to acknowledge Jimmy Bartel winning the Jim Stynes Community Leadership Award at the Brownlow Medal Night 2016 for his work on raising awareness of domestic violence against women.

Jennifer Bantow asked the following in relation to the Sale of the Old Geelong Gaol:

  1. When will the ‘requests to be heard’ stated in the Notice of Intention to Sell Land occur and what is the format for that Hearing?

  2. The Notice says that Council will make available for public inspection submissions received in the last 12 months? Why has the National Trust request to see the Barwon Health submissions been refused?

  3. This Notice is of Intention to sell Land. How can the land be separated from the structure on the land? Why isn’t it a Notice to sell the whole property, land and buildings?

William Tieppo responded he would provide a written response.

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

I wish to acknowledge receipt of questions asked by you at the Council meeting on 27 September 2016.

Please note the following responses:

  1. The hearing of submissions in relation to the notice of intention to sell the Old Geelong Gaol will be determined following further discussions with the Barwon Health Future Fund Foundation. Subject to the outcome of those discussions a time and venue for hearings will be arranged.

    The format for the hearing will follow the Submissions Review Panel Committee Terms of Reference and Management Procedure (copies of both these documents are attached for your information).

  2. The National Trust is not able to be provided with the submission of the Barwon Health Future Fund Foundation as it was not made in response to a statutory notice under s189 of the Local Government Act, but was a submission made in response to an invitation for proposals published in October 2015. You will note that that notices given under s189 of the Act provide for submissions to be made available.

  3. S189 of the Local Government Act provides for the sale of land which includes fixed improvements such as buildings.

Jennifer, in response to other matters you raised at the Council meeting the following information is provided:

Jennifer, the Submission Hearing Panel will not be scheduled until after Council has received confirmation from Barwon Health that they would like to enter into an option to purchase the property. Without this advice, the sale will not proceed and there will be no need to hear any submission. Council officers will be meeting with the Administrators on 26 October to discuss whether or not the meeting scheduled for the 9 November between the Administrators and the National Trust will be an informal meeting or need to be a formal Submission Hearing Panel.

You will be advised further in relation to this immediately following the meeting of the Administrators with Council officers.

Regarding your question about the decision making process that led to Council’s current position, this will be discussed at the 9 November meeting.

Thank you for your interest in this matter.

Fiona Conroy asked the following in relation to the Saleyards:

Is Council aware that there is potentially misleading information in page 172 in the costing proposal put forward in the Saleyards report tabled at tonight’s meeting?

The State Government’s proposed introduction of NLIS tags for all sheep born after January 1 2017, does not require Saleyards to introduce scanning until July 1 2017, not January 1 as listed on the table on page 172.

The costing to the Council of $50,000 to implement these changes on the same table may also be inaccurate.

Is the Council aware that the State Government produced a consultation paper on August 24 where it proposes offering funding for Saleyards to establish infrastructure for dealing with the new electronic ear tags?

Eligible infrastructure includes: readers, software and associated data management equipment and auto drafters and their installation.

Funding may also be considered for essential Saleyard modifications.

The proposed funding for Saleyards also includes: training and technical support, assistance to design infrastructure and modifications and assistant to develop operation procedures.

The State Government is asking all stakeholders for feedback on their consultation paper.

Will the City of Greater Geelong be writing to the State Government supporting their proposal to offer regional Saleyards this funding?

The closing date for feedback to the State Government is Friday, September 30?

The questions were tabled for a written response.

A subsequent written response was provided by the Acting General Manager City Services in the following terms:

Thank you for submitting your question regarding the Geelong Saleyards and the information you provided in relation to the proposed NLIS tags for sheep.

At present the NLIS funding is still in the planning stages and the document received for comment refers to a proposed funding structure. As we cannot be yet guaranteed of the funding an amount would need to be allocated to any budget proposal for the reopening of the saleyards. Whilst the need to start scanning will not be until July 2017 the infrastructure required will need to be in place prior to this date to ensure a smooth transition.

The City of Greater Geelong has been in contact with the State Government in relation to the proposals around the introduction of NLIS sheep tagging and the implications for saleyards.

When there is a call for funding applications from the State Government the City of Greater Geelong will consider its position in relation to any applications.

If you require additional information or have further questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

Please do not hesitate to contact me on 5272 4348 or by email [email protected] for further information.

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