Decentralisation of state government agencies, and in particular those whose primary focus is in regional areas.
It would be nice to think that those making decisions on our urban and regional resource have some connection with them. They rarely do yet they advise their portfolio Minister who ends up making laws and regulations. Is it any wonder then that some of the decisions made frustrate us immensely?
It might be horribly outrageous for them, but our government agencies need to be located where the action is. To do otherwise limits their knowledge of what they regulate to what they are seeing on TV. Their proximity to the city also exposes them to influence from groups with political agendas that bureaucrats should not be exposed to.
DEPI and Parks Victoria are two obvious examples of agencies that need to go bush.
A complete review of the organisational structures of local government, including the powers of the CEO and senior staff and processes for controlling capital expenditure.
The responsibilities that come with governing our communities should not be underestimated. While the role of councillors is important, the shallow nature of the interest in running means the talent pool is shallow. This leaves us with some local councils being run by the CEO and other senior staff with little oversight and almost no-one to provide guidance on their priorities.
For example, some councils – in fact many of them – continue to rolling rating increases well above CPI. The better councils are forced to prioritise with budgets constrained by some external benchmark that the rest of the community abides by.
A complete review of the structures of local government will help clarify what is and is not expected of councillors and the powers and responsibilities of senior council staff, especially when it comes to capital expenditure programs.