People Power Wins In Geelong

People Power Wins In Geelong

Victoria Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu

Geelong Residents To Elect Mayor Under Baillieu Government

Victor P Taffa

A Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition Government will open up democratic participation and strengthen local government in Geelong by allowing residents to directly elect their mayor, Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition Leader Ted Baillieu announced at the VECCI 2010 Regional Business Convention today.

“Geelong is our second-biggest city and one of the largest councils in Victoria and the people of Geelong want the right to decide who represents their city as mayor.” Mr. Baillieu said.

“Geelong is a growing city with great opportunities and challenges so it is more important than ever that every single Geelong resident has a direct say in the city’s future.”

A Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition Government will abolish the current antiquated model where councillors and political influence are used to appoint a Mayor, without input from residents.

Traditionally the behind-closed-doors Mayoral appointment process has left residents feeling disconnected from local government and unclear about the role they play in Local Elections.

Under the Liberal Nationals Coalition Plan it will no longer be possible for Political Parties to determine Mayoral Appointments away from the glare of Public Scrutiny.

Instead, under the plan all residents of Geelong will be asked to vote directly for Candidates for the Mayoral Position, avoiding political interference in the process.

Immediately after the State Election, the Coalition will establish an Implementation Process, in consultation with the Geelong Community, to determine the best model for Popular Election.

Mayors will be elected for four year terms and will be directly accountable to the people, ensuring local concerns and issues always take priority in Council.

“For too long local government has operated under allegations of political influence and with a lack of scrutiny.” Mr. Baillieu said.

“The people of Geelong deserve an open and transparent process for determining their Mayor this reflects Geelong’s Status as a Major Modern City, and the Coalition Plan for direct Elections will provide that process.”

“A mayor elected by the people would have the endorsement of the Geelong community and would have a greater ability to pursue the city’s vital interests into the future.

“The election of a mayor by the residents of Geelong for a four year term would also give the region more stability and certainty in local government. It is important for a community like Geelong to elect their own Mayor.” Mr. Baillieu said.

“The Brumby Government has long neglected the Geelong Community and local Labor Members have ignored the needs of their electorates, refusing to listen to the people of Geelong.” Mr. Baillieu said.

The City of Greater Geelong has the second-largest local government area in Victoria with a Population of 216,000, and is expected to grow by more than 53,000 by 2026. This is significantly greater than the 97,000 Registered Voters for the City of Melbourne, which already directly elects its Lord Mayor.