Our Answers and the Unanswered
Observation and concerns for a flawed Bendigo GovHub that will cost our city and remove much of our independence, becoming a branch office of Melbourne
Information and data - lack of / limited / omitted / misrepresented / lied / ignored / etc. Transparency and accountability absent. Just 2 of many examples:
Mayor claiming GovHub in the community Plan and that Council had not made a formal decision.
The consultants’ options reports (PWC – 5, and Urbis - 2) being buried.
Lack of public communication, engagement and consultation around CoGB office consolidation as recommended by 2013 Independent Review (and by government 2017 to do with GovHubs.
Over six years no public meeting to explain development or engage in Q&A, just the 20 February 2019 Council Meeting.
Yet council happy to organise a free Community Human Rights Forum on the theme: from 5pm to 8pm on Friday March 15 at the Bendigo Town Hall, and, a Garden Party at Dudley House on Friday February 15 to bring the creative community together to celebrate the start of a range of activities in the 2019 creative calendar.
Governance and administration decision-making breached Local Government Act; officers skewed outcomes; certain councillors lacked knowledge to make informed decisions or part of an officer claque; decisions made outside council chamber; etc.
Just 3 of many examples:
The 23 October 2013 Minutes confirm the IR Implementation Advisory Committee (all councillors with officers steering, responsible to oversee the implementation of the Review - advice to Council – itself, operated on the following dates 27 August 2013, 9 September 2013, 9 October 2013, 16 October 2013 and 22 October 2013 without its ‘Terms of reference and Functions of the Committee’ being described or known or approved by a Council; they were approved by Council at its 23 October 2013 Meeting.
Recommendation No. :39 Formalise and mandate a Communications Policy so media releases are reviewed by the Communications and Media Team prior to release. Action: The Media/Communications Policy has been updated and has been considered by the Executive Management Team and Councillors at a Forum and has been endorsed by Councillors and staff. The decision was not made by Council at a Council Meeting after debate and resolution, it was made in a Forum which is not the Council; the only endorsement is a Council resolution.
The classic is the June 20 2018, 2018/19 Budget entry, ‘Develop a concept plan and advocate for support to construct a GovHub in Bendigo, for the co-location of government services’, yet the decision to support a co-location GovHub was made eight months later on February 20 2019. It was never in the Community Plan, though it is a 2018/19 Action Plan which was never presented to or ratified by Council
No member of the public could possible understand how the majority of councillors came to the decision they did based on the February officer report to Council. The financial data is incoherent, impossible to follow. There is no clear grid analysis of the financials for the seven options that were supposedly considered. Residents (and I dare say councillors and officers) would have no knowledge of the real financial consequences for ratepayers.
Productivity Increases and Improved Service - Efficiency and Effectiveness Fog
A joke. There appears a mythology about vertical space being a greater stimulant for effectiveness and efficiency improvements than the existing horizontal space.
Long term productivity savings are given as $16.1 million long-term. What? How was this arrived at? Where are the productivity losses noted? Where are the opportunity costs measured? Etc, etc