DAVID Gill sees the influence Mornington Peninsula Shire had on the May 2018 federal election as one of council’s main achievements during his time as mayor.
He says “advocacy” by the shire during the election campaign led to the “winning party” making “project promises” of $175 million.
Cr Gill, pictured, credits the shire with achieving “the largest number of project promises ever secured in a local government campaign”.
The seat of Flinders was won for the Liberal Party by Greg Hunt, who has held the seat since being first elected in 2001.
Cr Gill made his comments at the shire’s 12 November annual meeting, which saw Cr Sam Hearn elected to take over the mayor’s role.
Speaking later to The News, Cr Gill criticised the state government for not being tougher on jet skis.
The shire wanted to set aside areas for jet skis on some beaches and banning them from mixing with swimmers elsewhere. Instead, the government has opted to allow jet skis near swimmers throughout the shire, but ordering them to drive to deeper water in a straight line from the beach.
“The government says they have to go straight out, but that’s a joke. There’s no one to enforce it,” Cr Gill said.
“The government’s trumpeting this like it’s a great new deal, but it’s already in the law and being ignored.
“They’re treating jet skis the same as paddle boards.”
Cr Gill was also disappointed that the state government was not taking any action to prevent the “too dangerous” activity of jumping off the cliffs at The Pillars, Mt Martha.
He remains optimistic (“although we’re not home and hosed”) that Planning Minister Richard Wynne will agree to amending planning rules to “protect” the peninsula’s 42 towns and the green wedge.
If the shire succeeds in having a “bulk declaration” of an 80kph speed limit on most roads throughout the peninsula it would be a highlight of his term as mayor and “undoubtedly save lives”.
“It’s something that has never happened before,” he said.
“It can’t cover all unmade roads [where the default speed limit is 100kph], as that would require a change of legislation.”
In his “outgoing speech” to the annual meeting Cr Gill said another highlight of his mayoral term had been seeing the Port of Hastings Authority release 400 hectares of “long idle port-related industrial land for proposed job creating uses in the Hastings and Somerville areas “.
Work began on the Rosebud aquatic centre and new rules for “party houses” meant property owners could be prosecuted for irresponsible behaviour.
Council’s signing of a small business charter was “a great deal for local businesses”.
Cr Gill was pleased with $300,000 from the federal government to “kick off the feasibility of using recycled water from the South East outfall to assist farmers, firefighting, sports grounds and the environment”.
The Better Buses campaign and declaration of a climate emergency had been well received, as was the shire’s decision to progressively implement a ban on plastics and smoking on council lands and its commitment to use 100 per cent renewable energy by 2021 and have no carbon emissions by 2040.
Cr Gill said his year as mayor had also seen the introduction of “strategies to empower our Indigenous residents”, including displaying Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander flags in the council chamber.
Other plans and strategies to have long term effects, included those for gender equality, arts and culture, and a shire-wide heritage review.