Minister for Local Government Natalie Hutchins has today accepted the advice of the independent Transition Auditors appointed to examine the proposed separation of Sunbury from the City of Hume.
The Hon Frank Vincent AO QC and Mr John Watson provided advice to Ms Hutchins on the previous Liberal Government’s plan to create a standalone Sunbury Council, finding that the split should not proceed due to the long-term and significant financial impact on Sunbury residents.
Following extensive consultation with the local community, the Auditors recommended against proceeding with the separation, noting it had the potential to increase council rates by 14 per cent, significantly reduce services and create an unviable, unsustainable Council.
The Auditors also found that the previous Liberal Government’s process to split the councils was significantly flawed, based on a legally questionable 10 year transition period and an uncertain and potentially unenforceable share of the voluntary rates from Melbourne Airport.
Additionally, the Auditors found that the process had lacked adequate community consultation and had failed to explain the detrimental impact on local residents.
The Auditors also recommended principles for government to follow in any future proposal to restructure existing council boundaries. The Auditors’ report is available at www.sunburyhumetransition.vic.gov.au
Quotes attributable to Minister for Local Government Natalie Hutchins
“The Transition Auditors report clearly shows the proposed split would come at a significant financial cost to local residents.”
“We supported Sunbury out of Hume in good faith. Faith that the previous Liberal government had done the basic due diligence to ensure it was a fair outcome for local residents. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.”
“By failing to do the necessary groundwork, the Liberals let down Sunbury and Hume, and peddled a complete myth. Even now, Matthew Guy wants to cut local services and slug Sunbury residents with rate increases of up to 14 per cent.”
“Matthew Guy should just admit that he and the previous government made a mistake. Instead, he wants to condemn the residents of Sunbury to higher rates and fewer services just to save face.”
Quotes attributable to Member for Sunbury Josh Bull
“We’ve done what the former Liberal Government failed to – assess the situation, seek independent advice and act in the best interests of local residents.”