Council endorses recommendations
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.”