Coun­cil en­dorses rec­om­men­da­tions

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

Ararat Ru­ral City Coun­cil has for­mally ac­cepted and endorsed Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Min­is­ter Natalie Hutchins’ rec­om­men­da­tions in the wake of a Com­mis­sion of In­quiry re­port into coun­cil oper­a­tions.

It made the de­ci­sion at a coun­cil meet­ing, which meant it also re­tained a 2016 rat­ing strat­egy, one of the six rec­om­men­da­tions.

Mayor Paul Hooper said work was now un­der­way to im­ple­ment all rec­om­men­da­tions.

“Fur­ther to the rat­ing strat­egy rec­om­men­da­tion, an ad­vi­sory group will be es­tab­lished which will com­prise of an in­de­pen­dent non-vot­ing chair with knowl­edge of lo­cal gov­ern­ment rat­ing, and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of key groups of ratepay­ers with vot­ing rights,” he said.

Ararat Ru­ral City Coun­cil in­terim chief ex­ec­u­tive Colleen White will re­main in the po­si­tion un­til the coun­cil ap­points an ex­ter­nal in­terim chief ex­ec­u­tive for a fixed 12-month term as part of the min­is­ter’s rec­om­men­da­tion.

The ex­ter­nal chief ex­ec­u­tive will un­der­take an or­gan­i­sa­tional re­struc­ture of coun­cil re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and re­port­ing lines, while also work­ing with a mu­nic­i­pal mon­i­tor for coun­cil to achieve good governance prac­tices.

Other rec­om­men­da­tions are the coun­cil re­view its range and level of com­mu­nity ser­vice pro­vi­sion to en­sure it re­mains fi­nan­cially vi­able over the long term; re­view its com­mu­nity en­gage­ment policy; in­ves­ti­gate al­ter­nate re­port­ing op­tions for the au­dit com­mit­tee; and ad­dress the com­mis­sion’s find­ings in re­la­tion to po­ten­tial breaches of the coun­cil­lors code of con­duct.

The Ararat coun­cil is fi­nal­is­ing a for­mal re­sponse to Min­is­ter Hutchins into how it will im­ple­ment the rec­om­men­da­tions.

“The com­mis­sion of in­quiry pro­duced a thor­ough and de­tailed re­port which iden­ti­fied a num­ber of crit­i­cal ar­eas that we as an or­gan­i­sa­tion must make im­prove­ment on,” Cr Hooper said.

“We are com­mit­ted to see­ing this process through.”

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