Monday, November 28, 2005

City Councilors express concern at administration avoiding accountability

Melbourne City Councillors have express concern at the decision of the administration to withdraw from publication the Council's official Travel Register.

The Travel Register records the cost of each interstate and overseas travel undertaken by staff and councillors and is required to be be maintained under the provisions of the Local Government (Genral) Regulations 2004 (r11). It is a public document so why is it not on the Council's Internet site? What are the staff trying to hide? Obvious! The extent and cost of staff travelling interstate and overseas at ratepayers expense.

This register was previously published on the Council's Internet site but was quickly withdrawn and hidden from view following the election of a new Council.

Melbourne City Councillors were not consulted or asked if the Travel Register should be withdrawn. The administration acted on their own volition.

The City council has come under intense pressure to reinstate the publication of the Travel register and ensure it is maintained and kept up to date.

The public have a right to know and the Internet is the best way to ensure that this information is made available.

Councillor's Shanahan, Snedden and Clarke has all expressed concern about its withdrawal an believe that the register should be re-instated

It is still unclear if this issue will be raised at tomorrows Finance and Corporate Performance (sic) committee meeting tomorrow (Tuesday Nov 29).

Letters requesting the Council to list and consider this issue were sent to the City Council weeks in advance of the meeting but the administration have failed to include it on the meeting as published agenda. This raised on going concern as to the professionalism of the Council's Governance department and whether they have acted in good faith by not listed it on the agenda for tomorrow nights committee meeting.

The Council administration it appears will go to any length to avoid publication and accountability.

We wait with interest to see what transpires at the meeting tomorrow. Keep am eye on Alison Lyon's, Council Legal Officer, to see what arguments she comes up with to try and avoid publication. Alison Lyons has come under ongoing criticism for her advice and questionable actions in the past.

Hopefully the Council will act and not have the wool pulled over them by Ms Lyon once more.

We will be watching with interest and will certainly report on the outcome of this meeting as soon as we can.

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