re­ RE­PORTS, PAGES 10-11

TODD Hazel­wood feared for his life as his car hit a bar­rier at more than 250kmh, spun through the air and slammed on to its roof in a “sick­en­ing” crash at Sandown yes­ter­day.

But the 21-year-old driver emerged un­hurt and was back rac­ing in a dif­fer­ent car just an hour later. LO­CAL coun­cils have been told to spend ratepay­ers’ funds more wisely and to con­sult res­i­dents bet­ter on ma­jor de­ci­sions.

Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Min­is­ter Natalie Hutchins said many coun­cils were flush with cash and should not be com­plain­ing about the pol­icy to cap rate rises.

“The big­gest feed­back we got in the pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion we did around the Lo­cal

In the ter­ri­fy­ing ac­ci­dent, which forced an early end to the first qual­i­fy­ing race for the Sandown 500, Hazel­wood’s Holden ca­reered side­ways after be­ing nudged off one of the fastest sec­tions of the track.

The car crashed into a tyre pre­pares to over­haul the way coun­cils operate, a Pic­tures: DANIEL KALISZ/GETTY IM­AGES bar­rier and the im­pact sent it spin­ning into the air.

“As soon as I got the hit in the rear I knew I was in a world of trou­ble to try and sur­vive,” Hazel­wood said.

“It was a pretty wild ride go­ing back­wards at 260-odd kmh.

“Know­ing that there was a fence there some­where was pretty sick­en­ing. Prob­a­bly once I knew I was in the air, I knew this could be quite bad. Just land­ing, you hear about the driv­ers with leg and back in­juries and that sort of stuff.

“When I landed the first thing was mak­ing sure I was OK. The land­ing was pretty bru­tal, you never like land­ing on your head.” EM­PLOYEE costs are surg­ing, up by 5.3 per cent, with the metropoli­tan wages bill to top $2.3 bil­lion; and, OVER­SEAS jaunts ap­proved by the City of Mel­bourne will cost more than $200,000.

The An­drews Gov­ern­ment will look at ways to force coun­cils to broadly seek ratepay­ers’ views on ma­jor de­ci­sions such as dump­ing Australia Day.

The gov­ern­ment will con­sider op­tions as part of its over­haul of the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Act after the Vic­to­rian Au­di­tor-Gen­eral’s Of­fice re­leased a re­port in May crit­i­cis­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion and con­sul­ta­tion ef­forts of some coun­cils.

Ms Hutchins was also con­cerned by the lack of fe­male coun­cil CEOs, with fig­ures show­ing that while women com­prised 63 per cent of lo­cal gov­ern­ment em­ploy­ees, only 13 per cent of chief ex­ec­u­tive roles were held by them.

And she ques­tioned the num­ber of over­seas trips taken by coun­cil­lors.

The gov­ern­ment has also flagged it will clamp down on coun­cil­lors who ab­stain from vot­ing on is­sues such as tough plan­ning de­ci­sions.

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