The previous Liberal Government took a careless approach to the separation of Sunbury from Hume and this week in Parliament, Bernie Finn has sought to derail preparations for the upcoming split.
The rushed decision by the Liberals to separate Sunbury from Hume left major issues unresolved, including the fact that there were no offices for a new Sunbury Council to operate out of, and no time for the affected parties to resolve these issues.
In March, Ms Hutchins appointed Mr Frank Vincent QC and Mr John Watson as Transition Auditors to ensure the necessary planning and work is done to resolve the issues and ensure local residents aren’t left worse off by the separation.
While speaking in Parliament yesterday, Mr Finn attempted to undermine this process and endanger the separation of Sunbury from Hume by calling for the removal of John Watson as a Transition Auditor.
Ms Hutchins said she has full confidence in the ability of Mr Watson to fulfil the terms of his appointment and ensure Sunbury and Hume residents get the best outcome, given his lengthy experience in local government.
To better inform the community about the issues, the Transition Auditors have released reports from Deloitte that highlight higher annual rate increases of at least 8.5 per cent for the new Sunbury Council.
Under the proposed separation, the reports also raise concerns about the ability of Sunbury Council to maintain current service levels, staffing and delivery of capital works in the long term.
The Transition Auditors are independent of Government. They will provide the Andrews Labor Government with advice on the financial and non-financial implications of the separation, to safeguard the interests of locals.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Local Government, Natalie Hutchins
“Bernie Finn is playing politics with the separation of Sunbury from Hume. Rather than representing what his constituents want, he’s more interested in derailing Labor’s efforts to get it right.”
“The previous Liberal Government and Bernie Finn carelessly pushed through a plan for the split, without resolving issues with services and staff.”
“Labor is working with the community to get the best outcome for Sunbury and Hume, to make sure locals aren’t worse off.”
Quote attributable to Member for Sunbury, Josh Bull
“I am not surprised that Bernie Finn is trying to attack this fair and responsible process. The Andrews Labor Government is determined to get this right and we are not interested in playing Bernie’s games.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020