The Weekly Advertiser

Candidates, take a bow

By DEAN LAWSON

We take our hats off to the people across our region who have nominated to sit on local government councils.

Just when we thought we might struggle to find enough people to have a dip at grass-roots leadership, surely one of the toughest gigs to get right, people have been willing to put themselves forward for public scrutiny.

The response has been so good that every Wimmera municipality will be subject to elections – the way it should be in any healthy democracy.

It might be vastly different in metropolitan centres, but in regional Victoria local government remains a crucial part of workable governance. In many cases our communities are only as strong as their municipal representation.

The old saying that local government is the closest level of government to the people is as true in rural and regional centres today as it has ever been.

There is more than a generous amount of priceless accountability when people making important decisions share the same footpaths or roads as the people their decisions might affect.

It promotes coalface objectivity and anyone out of step with public sentiment soon hears about it – face-to-face.

What is impressive about the turn-out in candidates is that it comes at a time when councillors, who in mosts cases are simply people off the street willing to help their communities, have been subject to cheap shots by politicians from other ‘more important’ tiers of government.

In August, acting Local Government Minister Richard Wynne found it a little too easy to label councils that had made errors in signing off on codes of conduct as ‘incompetent’.

We suspect the whole saga he was referring to was more about ambiguity involved in the signing-off process and the failure of a government agency to follow up on simple administrative confusion.

Perhaps a few phone calls to make sure everyone was on the same page might have been better than a vitriolic declaration of a need to change the Local Government Act.

There is also another old saying, and it’s about people who live in glass houses.

While the people who end up as municipal representatives after the postal election on October 22 are sure to face community criticism at some stage during their tenure, they already qualify for respect for having an old-fashioned go.

The challenge, now we have people who have thrown their hats into the ring, is for the voting public to consider and decide the make-up of the groups they want representing their interests.

• Ballot draw, page 9

The entire September 28, 2016 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

Short URL: http://www.theweeklyadvertiser.com.au/?p=35790

Posted on Sep 28 2016

Posted by on Sep 28 2016. Filed under Opinion, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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