Council Minutes - Section A: Procedural Matters - 26 November 2019

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Minutes of the Ordinary Meeting of the Greater Geelong City Council held at the Council Conference and Reception Centre in City Hall, 57 Little Malop Street, Geelong on 26 November 2019, commencing at 7:00pm.



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Also present:

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The Deputy Mayor declared the meeting open at 7:00pm.

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Council acknowledged Wadawurrung Traditional Owners of this land and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People who are part of the Greater Geelong community today.

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Leave of Absence

Councillor Mansfield moved, Councillor Harwood seconded –

That Leave of Absence be granted to Councillor Mason from 26-27 November.


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Confirmation of Minutes

Councillor Murrihy moved, Councillor Sullivan seconded -

That the Minutes of the Ordinary Meeting held on 29 October 2019 be confirmed.


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Declaration of Conflicts of Interest

Councillor Murnane declared a Conflict of Interest in Agenda Item 4, Kaufland Stores in Victoria Advisory Committee – 140-156 Colac Road, Highton

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Council tabled a letter from the Victorian Planning Authority advising the role of Municipal Monitor, Jude Munro, does not conflict between her appointment as a municipal monitor and her role as Chairperson of the Victorian Planning Authority.

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Youth Council Fourth Report 2019

Josie Horne, Junior Mayor, provided the gallery with a presentation of the fourth and final of her Youth Council presentations for 2019, highlighting the Youth Council achievements since September and an overview of the Youth Summit and recent actions undertaken.

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Public Question and Submission Time

Erica Hunt asked the following in relation to the climate emergency sustainability framework:

  1. Sustainability Framework Update: Who is creating it? Purpose? Is it really necessary when collaborating with other Councils could save time, resources, etc?

  2. Climate emergency – please explain why Council will not answer climate related questions and rejected a climate emergency declaration?

The Deputy Mayor stated upfront that Council has debated and decided the issue of climate emergency and I will not reopen that matter for debate.

The Sustainability Framework will be developed by the City, led by the Strategy team in collaboration with a broad cross section of City departments. A consultancy firm specialising in sustainability frameworks has also been engaged to assist with the development of the framework.

The Sustainability Framework will provide Council with the opportunity to co-ordinate its work to create sustainable outcomes across the Council, particularly focussing on environmental, social and financial outcomes.

The City has already considered sustainability frameworks of other Councils, government bodies and private organisations in designing its own framework, and we are looking forward to receiving the framework at the February 2020 Council meeting.

Supplementary questions:

Who is the consultant? How much will it cost? Why can’t you not work with the likes of Mornington Council community engagement team to collaborate? Will the community get an opportunity for input?

The Deputy Mayor took the supplementary questions on notice for a written response.

Tina Thorburn asked:

  1. Under Part 1 Preface and Introduction and more specifically Part 1.2 General Principles (2nd para) it states: The City of Greater Geelong recognises it, along with the Municipal Emergency Management Planning Committee, has a key role in prevention and mitigation activities to reduce the risk, or minimise the effects, of emergencies that may occur in the area. Part 1.3 iterates Council’s commitment to the emergency management strategies of prevention, response and recovery. Part 2 of the Municipal Emergency Management Plant is titled Risk Management and Part 2.13 Biosecurity Strategy for Victoria states: The Biosecurity Strategy for Victoria outlines a new vision for biosecurity management in Victoria and demonstrates our commitment to protect Victoria from biosecurity threats that affect our primary industries, environment, social amenity and human health understand and address emerging risks that may arise from climate change, changes in land use and increasing global travel and trade.

    This means that Council already recognises climate change as an emergency and has been required to take action for the entire current council term. I would like to know why Council has not been acting on this?

    The Deputy Mayor responded the City recognises the need to adapt to climate change as a key strategic risk. This was acknowledged by Council in the resolution adopted at the September 2019 Council Meeting. The resolution also noted that the City has had a strong record of reducing emissions, restoring and conserving biodiversity, and preparing our community for the impacts of climate change.

    The conclusion you draw in your question is not correct. The acknowledgement of climate change impacts in emergency management is not the same as recognizing climate change as an emergency, but rather, that climate change, amongst other things, will be taken into account in delivering services to the community, including emergency management.

Supplementary question:

Where is the ‘Cross Council Adaptation Working Group (referring to the MEMP)?

The Deputy Mayor took the question on notice for a written response.

  1. I also wish to draw your attention to council’s Climate Change Adaptation Strategy which Council adopted in 2011! The minutes of council meeting dated August 2013 where this strategy was further discussed clearly lists 3 of our current councillors being present – 2 of whom voted for the amendment. As far as I can tell the only part of this strategy that has been achieved is the warning of under-adaptation ‘where Council underestimates the challenge posed by a climate risk and under-invests in adaption actions’. (Page 9 – Section 5) Both the MEMPlan and the Climate Change Adaption Strategy are to be found on the COGG website which clearly implies that these are part of Council’s current operations. My questions: Where is the Cross Council Adaptation Working Group? Why are you wasting time and money to reinvent the wheel when all the ducks are already in a row and have been since 2011?

    The Deputy Mayor thanked Ms Thorburn for her question and added Council has had a strong record of reducing emissions, restoring and conserving biodiversity and preparing our community for the impacts of climate change over a long period of time.

Sanja Van Huet asked:

  1. My first question is – in the wait time for the Environmental report in February, would Council consider – either on a personal or a Council-wide basis – carbon offsetting their vehicle emissions. This would provide an immediate action that Council can implement on the spot.

  2. My second question is – if the answer to Q1 is yes, then; instead of contributing to the Gold Standard carbon offsets, could the offset monies be used to seed fund a Solar Savers program for aged and disadvantaged members of the Geelong community.

    The Deputy Mayor thanked Ms Van Huet for her questions/submission and indicated Council will take the issues raised in relation to carbon emissions and offsets on board.

Phil Baulch asked:

A serious economic contraction is coming. A growing number of economists say, it's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when. Despite record low interest rates, GDP growth is weak, wages growth has been flat for 10 years and Australia’s household debt to income is the highest in the world. Debts are claims on the profits of future economic activity requiring energy. The rising cost of producing energy is undermining the economy and our ability to pay down debt. In 1960. The cost of producing energy for the economy was around 1% of GDP, today its approaching 10% of GDP. It’s clear that debt has replaced cheap energy end as the engine of growth. In 1970 we created $1 of debt for every dollar of GDP. Today we need $4.50 of new debt for every dollar of GDP. Asset prices are at historical highs only because of $140 trillion worth of new global debt since the GFC.

As investors realise their holdings are almost entirely speculative and bear no relationship to the output of the real economy, faith will be lost and a major correction will follow. We’ve called on Council numerous times in the past to create Energy Descent Action Plan(EDAP).  As yet we’ve had no response other than virtue signalling about strategies reduce carbon emissions. An EDAP is a financial risk mitigation strategy. Why hasn’t Council produced the EDAP committed to in February 2011?

The Deputy Mayor responded Council’s response to the MAV/CACIT initiative has been driven through Future Proofing Geelong which brings together a dedicated group of partners to collaborate on sustainability actions across industry, business, education, government and community.

Faced with challenges like climate change, economic adjustment and growth, the region has pursued a collaborative and innovative approach to Geelong becoming more resilient and adaptive. It is not just an environmental risk response but also deals with economic risks.

The program focuses on enabling projects which will assist Geelong to become more sustainable, more liveable and more productive in response to potential economic headwinds.

Supplementary question:

What is the status of Future Proofing Geelong and has the Council’s internal unit been dissolved?

The Deputy Mayor took the question on notice for a written response.

Caroline Danaher addressed Council as follows:

My question is about education. It improves our knowledge of the world in many ways by challenging entrenched cultural, religious, uninformed views of life. Good governments have educated the general public over the years on many contentious issues. However it requires the power of governments, local, state and federal to have the knowledge themselves first before they can implement for education and change. A few come to mind. Cigarette smoking, thought once not to be a cause of cancer, AIDS, Mesothelioma Disease from Asbestos, back-lung or pneumoconiosis, or just as important and as contentious at the time, seat belts, or ingrained cultural female mutilation and even women allowed to vote when men thought they were not as intelligent. My question: I understand from your Mayor you all accept the existential crisis we face due to climate change. What processes will you put in place to educate and inform your people in the City of Greater Geelong region that this is a scientific fact and we must act now? This includes proportion of the budget, methods, for example: billboards, letters to households etc. and what time frame, seeing we are at crisis point right now?

The Deputy Mayor reiterated Council’s September resolution acknowledged that climate change poses a risk to the people of Geelong Australia, and requires a genuine and co-ordinated response.

Council will continue to engage in a timely way with the Greater Geelong community on issues relevant to our region, including issues relating to climate change.

Lex Chalmers asked the following in relation to Agenda Item 3, Our Heritage, Our Collection:

  1. There are another 49 Actions in the Council’s Heritage Strategy, some of which are ongoing or in process, and I stress the importance of properly resourcing all actions in the Heritage Strategy for the future benefit of Geelong citizens. But I note that the draft Our Heritage, Our Collection document does not mention the Heritage Strategy 2017 in the Local (legislative) Context influencing the development of a Collections Policy (page 54).

    Heritage Strategy achievement to date include the development of Council’s Heritage Advisory Committee. Its objectives include that it will: Provide advice and recommendations to Council on the documentation, interpretation, management and conservation of history and heritage, including places, objects, collections, in the municipality. I request that the Heritage Strategy is added to the Context list as it is the Council’s overarching strategic heritage document.

  2. ESCO a broad definition of tangible heritage includes immovable or fixed cultural heritage – such as buildings, trees and archaeological sites: or moveable cultural heritage – such as historic items, artworks and objects in collections (p.54). The draft Our Heritage, Our Collections document deals with moveable cultural heritage and refers to the need for off-site storage of objects, and to collections access being provided through pop-up displays and digitisation of objects. These would help to make some of the collection more accessible, but it would be far better if more were able to be displayed in Geelong’s own Social History Museum – as well as loaned to other institutions and travelling exhibitions.

    Buildings are the most substantial tangible cultural heritage, and Council still owns suitable heritage building which could provide both storage and display of Council’s collections. Of course, the former Geelong Post Office would have been ideal; but it is possible that Council would consider utilising one of its heritage buildings for the purpose of creating a Social History Museum?

    The Deputy Mayor thanked Ms Chalmers for her submission and added Council will incorporate the comments as a submission to the draft document if the draft ‘Our Heritage, Our Collection’ Strategic Report is placed on exhibition seeking submissions.

Jennifer Bantow asked the following:

  1. Could Council please urgently consider matters relating to the City Centre in liaison with the Geelong Authority?

  2. The Minister of Planning, Mr Richard Wynn, replied to correspondence of 29 November 2016, from the Chair Administrator Kathy Alexander advising that public notification of planning permits for building over 5 storeys, and with a floor area exceeding 5,000 square metres, which are determined by the Minister on advice from the Geelong Authority, (which was formed under Terms of Reference dated 8 September 2015), and defined in Greater Geelong Planning Scheme to Clause 61.01. Are these applications published?

  3. In relation to the neighbourhood character of Geelong’s inner suburbs, could Council please consider a review of the parts of the Planning Scheme relating to heritage conservation – Neighbourhood Character Clause 15.01-65, Heritage Clause 15.03-15, all the heritage precincts listed in Clause 22.09 to 22.55, and from 22.58 to 2.70, Overlays, Clause 42.01, Significant Environmental Overlays, Clause 42.03 Significant Landscape Overlay, Clause 43.01 43.01 Heritage Overlay, and any others I’ve missed? And consider the Residential Zoning of heritage precincts to Neighbourhood Zone, not Residential Growth and not Residential General Zone?

Supplementary questions:

  1. What happens with the public notice in relation to high rise buildings in Geelong?

  2. Can the Geelong Planning Scheme be reviewed to incorporate neighbourhood heritage?

Gareth Smith took the questions on notice for a written response.

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Contents | Next Page: Section B – Reports