THE Victorian Governor Linda Dessau has been asked to investigate the “due process failings” of state government departments involved in approving appointments to the Bass Park Trust.
Although no longer Mornington Peninsula Shire’s chosen representative on the trust, Cr David Gill never received approval from the Governor in Council during the four consecutive years he held that position.
His place on the trust was filled last June by the now mayor, Cr Anthony Marsh, although Cr Gill is still invited to attend meetings by the trust (“Trust says ‘no’ to council’s chosen delegate” The News 15/6/21).
Cr Marsh said on Friday that he thought it “inappropriate and unnecessary” for Cr Gill to write to Ms Dessau as he was not the shire’s “appointee or mayor”.
He said Cr Gill had not told him about the letter to Ms Dessau.
“I have been informed by the office of [Energy, Environment and Climate Change Minister] Lily D’Ambrosio [my] appointment has been signed off by the minister. I do not believe it has been signed off by the premier [Daniel Andrews] or governor at this stage,” Cr Marsh said.
“While it would have been great to have had the appointment ratified by now, I suspect it’s a relatively low priority for the premier and governor (“Marsh ‘excited’ by trust ‘progress’” The News 26/7/21).”
In his letter to the governor Cr Gill said most people “elected or appointed” to the trust “have waited years for your approval”.
He said the trust — which “looks after” land donated by the public nearly a century ago, including Flinders Golf Course and yacht club — was one of three community committees on the peninsula that needed the Governor in Council to ratify appointments.
“Relevant ministers, Department of Environment Land Water and Planning (DELWP) and the local MP have allowed these appointments to stay in limbo for up to 10 years, resulting in legal issues for the committee,” Cr Gill stated.
“Could you please investigate, as this should have been a simple administrative procedure of DELWP forwarding names to you after finalising propriety checks?
“After all, the representatives are publicly elected excluding the local councillor representing [the shire] and two representatives from the golf course.”
“There have been many strange reasons given by DELWP to explain the unacceptable delays in making recommendations to you.
“In the meantime, DELWP has been considering taking over the valuable golf course but are held up by an act of parliament that set up the trust and also requires your approval of members.”
The Governor in Council is headed by the Victorian Governor and includes members of the Executive Council, which comprises the premier and government ministers.
Issues decided by the Governor in Council include such things as making regulations; appointing, renewing and removing statutory officers; appointing judges; determining use of Crown land; and issuing proclamations.