CENTRAL Goldfields residents will be near-unique this October, as they join millions of Victorians voting in their local council elections.
The shire is one of the few in the state without current elected local government representation, after its council was sacked in 2017.
The sacking came in response to a damming report into misconduct at the shirefrom the local government inspectorate.
Why does the Central Goldfields Shire not have an elected council?
The Central Goldfields Shire's elected council was sacked following an investigation of the municipality by the local government inspectorate, a government body dedicated to compliance.
The report investigated mismanagement in four areas: assets, finances, human resources, and failures in governance.
It found "clear evidence" of failings within the organisation.
The report described a pattern of net losses for council and the community, misuse of grant funding and failure to follow processes or policies.
In one case, that of the Maryborough Primary School site, this lost the council $285,000
The report focused more on failings of staff in following due processes, rather than the elected council. It did document a failure to fulfill the proper process around declaring conflict of interest requirements for elected councillors.
The state government put a motion to parliament to sack the council on August 23, 2017, which passed uncontested.
Three administrators were appointed in the council's place, to make sure the council was functioning at its full capacity by the 2020 elections.
Why was the Central Goldfields elected council sacked?
Then Local Government Minister Natalie Hutchins attributed the sacking decision to the serious nature of the inspectorate's findings, that councillors failed to act in accordance with their statutory obligations.
Ms Hutchins said this warranted the removal of council as soon as possible.
Ms Hutchins said it was regrettable, but the government had a responsibility to protect communities from governance failings by their local representatives.
Then mayor of the shire Geoff Lovett told the Bendigo Advertiser at the time that he believed the decision was pre-emptive. Mr Lovett said it was incomprehensible to sack a democratically elected council for the failings of the executive.
He said the council should have been given time to work through the issues raised.
Was it just the council sacked?
Prior to the inspectorate's report, Central Goldfields chief executive Mark Johnston was charged on several counts of obtaining financial advantage by deception, false accounting and conflict of interest. He had been stood down prior to the report's release.
In 2018 he was convicted and fined $26,000 for misuse of a corporate credit card and obtaining financial advantage through deception.
What does this mean for the 2020 elections?
Postal voting will run in the Central Goldfields, the same as other Victorian local government elections.
Votes must be in the mail by 6pm on Friday October 23, subject to local mail clearance times.
If you have not received a ballot pack by Friday October 16, call your local election office to request a replacement.
Are any of the sacked councillors running for council again?
Sixteen people have stood to run as candidates for the council. Three candidates sat on the council sacked in 2017, Gerard Murphy, Geoff Lovett and Chris Meddows-Taylor.
One ward - Paddy's Ranges - is uncontested, with just one candidate.
Seven places are available on the Central Goldfields elected council. Other candidates include, for the Maryborough Ward, Brendan Roughead, Wayne Sproull, Vanessa Parker, Anne Canterbury, Narrina Collicoat, Peter Jeffs, Matt De Haan, Candice Anketell, Grace La Vella,
For the Tullaroop Ward Sonia Wright and Anna De Villiers are standing.
Liesbeth Long and Marion Da Costa are standing for the Flynn Ward.
The shire is divided into four wards, one with four councillors and three single councillor wards.
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