Traffic Light Election Campaign 2020
A Forum for Democratic Renewal (FDR) is drawing on the wisdom of local communities to assess the worthiness of each of the Macedon Ranges candidates in the upcoming council elections. We were all very pleased with the line up of representatives in 2016 and were optimistic that the new council, with plenty of fresh faces, would listen to the collective community voice. This council has been better than the previous one but the need for collaboration with the community is now even greater.
It’s been four years since the last election and much has changed. Globally, the ecological and climate emergency has accelerated at a catastrophic rate. Science is now telling us that an apocalyptic temperature rise of 4 degrees celsius is a real threat if we continue to sit on our hands in relation to greenhouse gas pollution. Covid 19 is ushering in a new normal which needs to include better community, collaboration and deliberative consultation especially at a local government level.
Locally town boundary expansion and its associated urban sprawl pushed for by the State Government, still threatens to dismantle our precious landscape, our rural amenity and township character. Now more than ever we need councillors who are loyal to community aspirations. We need councillors who will stand up for their local community in the face of intense pressure to trash years of protection which for many decades has been afforded to the Macedon Ranges for the benefit of all Victorians. These developments are a catalyst for FDR and our community to widen our view of the number of local issues which need our attention when we decide how to cast our votes in October.
Our charter and guidelines
- We are keen to give maximum encouragement to independent candidates who are not members of a political party and who have not benefited by the support of a party organisation.
Candidates who are members of political parties need to make clear to our assessment team that commitment to their community’s voice will take precedence over party political affiliation.
- Assess the performance of the last council and individual councillors who are seeking re-election by examining and analysing five to ten main community issues which the Shire is engaged in or has ignored over the last four years.
There are some examples over the last four years where democratic processes at a council level have improved. Much more needs to be done in relation to democratic renewal, though, by the new council and the representatives we choose to elect. Many issues which emerged from our forums over four years ago have not been addressed and are more relevant today than ever. We will reiterate those themes when assessing the current aspirants to public office.
*The Forum for Democratic Renewal is a group of citizens who want to improve local democracy in the Macedon Ranges. We want deliberation, not just consultation! We want places and time for learning, discussion, debate and decisions. We want to think ahead and think big-picture.
Here are some of the decisions to look at from the outgoing Council’s record
South Ward Issues
- Gisborne Future Plan
East Ward Issues
PE.6 Consultation options for the Riddells Creek Structure Plan. Page 30 of the Minutes
At the MRSC June 26 2019 meeting, the officer recommendation was for no community consultation on a developer led planning process until the formal planning scheme amendment stage.
They recommended a limited consultation about a plan for 1,290 housing lots at the Amess Road urban growth area in Riddells Creek. After many community requests were sent to councillors, Council voted to engage in full consultation.
CS3 page 14, 2020/2021 MRSC Budget decision
After numerous submissions from the Riddells Creek community the Council decided that the expenditure budgets increase in the following area: Riddells Creek Movement Network Study – (Stage 1) – $60,000
PE.1 Page 16 Application for extension of time for Planning Permit PLN/2010/477 – Development of the land for a supermarket with associated car parking, a reduction in the car parking requirements and signage – 1-3 Station Street, Riddells Creek
The officer recommendation was that Council grant an extension of time for a period of 2 years from 20 December 2019 to commence and complete the approved development. After submissions from Getting Riddell Right, Council unanimously refused to grant an extension of time.
West Ward Issues
- EOI Decision for the Old Kyneton Primary School
CS 9 on the agenda.
AO on the council agenda near the end of the meeting.