Council Meeting 9 April

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Apologies and Leave of Absence

Cr Surace is an apology. Cr Sipek is amending his approved leave of absence from 26 March 2019 to 8 April 2019, inclusive.

Cr Cam Nation is on approved leave of absence from 2 April 2019 to 25 April 2019.

Cr Nicole Marshall is seeking approved leave of absence for the period 2 April 2019 to Friday 12 April 2019 inclusive.  Approved.

Cr Sipek joins the meeting.

Confirmation of Minutes: Ordinary Meeting of Council held on Tuesday, 26 March 2019. Confirmed.

Declarations of Conflict of Interest – None

Presentations – From a Mayor in Japan that has an exchange program with MVCC.

Cr Cusack has sought to make a personal statement. He says that in the course of debate last meeting he used a phrase he would like to retract.

Petitions and Joint Letters – None.

Public Question Time

Two questions from Helen: What are the number of car parking spaces for each of the three options? The answer: each design for Debney’s Park prioritises walking and cycling and limits the provision of onsite car space to 87 car spaces – the number currently provided. Option 1 has 50 car spaces under the Hub and 30 spaces opposite Debney Meadows Primary and the other two options have similar numbers. The website will be updated to provide this information.

Second question: Why is the proposed Hub to be built on Debney’s Park and not at the site of the current centre? The answer: the current centre is on the park. The proposed location is sunnier, and removes the barrier between the park and the creek to optimise opportunities for an ecological response to creek and allow the park to be “bigger” and “more functional”. The reason the area near the current centre is under-utilised is that it is  noisier and more hostile. Council is seeking to put the community facilities away from hostile environment and so people can enjoy indoor and outdoor Hub areas facing onto the park.

Delegations to Determine Moonee Valley Racecourse Land Planning Applications

This motion has arisen because of the six councillors with conflict of interest with the MVRC. A small committee of councillors was formed to make decisions on MVRC – those without conflicts. However, with only three councillors, it has been hard to hold meetings and so decisions have been delayed. The officers are asking Council to delegate all decisions re MVRC to officers.

Cr Lawrence moves the officer’s recommendation. Cr Sipek seconds. Cr Lawrence says the small committee of three Councillors has created a frustration because if one councillor us away the committee cannot meet. He says continued delays will leave MVRC applying to VCAT.

Cr Lawrence says the Panel has taken the decision making away from Council. Council plays a role of scrutineer to implement the development plans. He asks councillors to support the move to delegate decision making to officers.

Cr Cusack says he does not think a permanent delegation should be put in place, and that a way of injecting community voices back in decisions should be considered. He is happy for this particular decision to be made by officers, but then it should revert to Council.

Cr Gauci Maurici asks to move a formal amendment to make officer meetings at which planning decisions are decided, open to the public, and with a sunset clause re the provision lasting only until there is once again a quorum of non-conflicted councillors.

The amendment is seconded and Cr Cusack says it is not quite what he had in mind, but it does help to solve his concern. He says he was dismayed it had gone the other way. “Our community has been significant in this,” he says, particularly the Save Moonee Ponds group.

Cr Byrne seeks a point of clarification about it being an ‘open session’ and whether there are any concerns. An officer says that while council officers weren’t entirely comfortable, they re happy to do it to expedite the process.

No other councillors wish to speak. The amendment is put to the vote.

For: Crs G-M, Cusack, Byrne, Sharpe

Against: Crs Sipek, Lawrence

So the amended motion becomes the substantive motion. Cr Gauci-Maurici says she won’t be supporting the substantive motion, but that the amendment is important. She understands the rationale behind the delegation, but as one of the three councillors left without a conflict, she would like to maintain decision making with councillors.

No other councillor wishes to speak. The motion is put.

For: Sipek, Sharpe, Byrne, Lawrence

Against: Cusack, Gauci-Maurici


Proposed Budget 2019/20

Cr Sipek moves the officer’s recommendation, Cr Gauci-Maurici seconds.  Cr Sipek says everyone is aware of what the budget incorporates.

Cr Gauci-Maurici says for those who read the proposed budget we are in an environment of rate capping, so costs increase, but revenue isn’t going up. There is $160m in operating expenditure that includes all children and aged care, traffic, waste and more. “It’s so much more than just roads and rates and rubbish … we have made decisions about staying in some services, but that means we need to make some decisions about how we spend money.”

There is no borrowing in this budget. It is a proposed budget and feedback is welcomed over the next month. Submissions will be heard on 28 May.

Cr Lawrence is concerned about the Strategic Resource Plan 2020-2023 that see the debt levels increase markedly – by 2023, a debt level of $60m. he says the extra capital works and expenditure cannot be sustained in the forward budgets.

Cr Lawrence says the many project initiatives, including Flemington HUB, EKLC, MP Creek – will all put stress on the budget. He can accept the budget for 2019/20, but cannot accept the Strategic Resource Plan and so will not support the motion.

Cr Cusack says the budget is vital. Cr Cusack says “Councils can and must go into debt” otherwise there is no capacity for meeting the future demands of the community. “This is not dead money, ” he says. “We are investing for the future. We can’t just keep things for the status quo. Re EKLC: What do you want? A great big hole in the ground?”

“It’s a bottom line that’s about human capital of this community,” he says. “That’s where we’re going to.” “Yes it will be tough for a while but we will move through it.”

Cr Byrne says “we are in an interesting situation.” She says she will be supporting the officer’s recommendation, but she thinks there is room to move other the future years. “Things as we know can change quite quickly.” She says it is important to put this out to the community and see what people in the community have to say.

Cr Sipek stresses that the vote tonight is not on the budget, but voting so the public can have a. look at the budget. “This is to give the public the opportunity to have a look at the draft.”

FOR: All except Cr Lawrence.  Carried.

Council Plan 2017-21 – Quarter two progress report for October – December 2018

Cr Gauci-Maurici supports the officer’s recommendation. She points out the number of child vaccinations and maternal and child nurse consultations. She also refers to the street tree planting program.

Cr Byrne says there are a few delays mainly due to staffing levels and other decisions that have come through the Council chamber. She says there has been a big change in the activation of neighbourhoods, including the Green Spine in Airport West.

Carried unanimously.

Response to Notice Of Motion No. 2018/15 – Council use of herbicides

Cr Lawrence moves the officer’s recommendation. He says the jury is still out on the use of ‘Round-Up’. The alternatives are more expensive, but they are options MVCC will continue to look at (good to hear!!).  He is pleased MVCC is taking a proactive role in looking at alternatives.

Cr Cusack mentions the ASU supports trials of alternatives to support the health of council officers.

Carried unanimously.

Walter Street Telecommunication Facilities

Cr Cusack moves the officer’s recommendation which is about shifting the telecommunications towers. He says there is not going to be a place in the neighbourhood that will provide the expected coverage.

Cr Byrne says this is going out to consultation and she looks forward to it coming back to Council. Carried unanimously.

Mayoral Attendance at Wellbeing Cities Forum

Cr Sipek moves the officer’s recommendation. Cr Lawrence seconds. Cr Sipek says this is an important event given MVCC has been nominated for an international award. He says it is important that Mayor is present in case we win! Cr Lawrence and Cr Byrne also speak in support of the motion. Cr Byrne also thanks Kate McCaughey for her work. Carried unanimously.

And apologies, I have to leave at this point!

Notice Of Motion No. 2019/10 – CCTV on no. 57 and 59 trams

Notice Of Motion No. 2019/11 – Clocktower Mural

Urgent Business

Delegates Reports

Confidential Reports: East Keilor Leisure Centre redevelopment progress update

Close of Meeting


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