Government shouldn't deflect to avoid scrutiny in local government inquiry


The Victorian Greens have called the Victorian Labor Government ‘disingenuous’ following the recent passage of a Liberal Party motion to establish an inquiry into local government.

The inquiry will investigate things like cost-shifting, rate-capping, and whether councils have adequate funding to deliver services for their community.

This is something the sector has been advocating for for a long time, and will hopefully provide the solutions needed to improve council services across the state.

However, after the motion for the inquiry was passed yesterday, the Minister for Local Government put out a misleading statement connecting the inquiry to the recent drag story time event that Monash Council was sadly forced to cancel.

In her statement, the Minister criticised the Greens by suggesting the inquiry would lead to the control of what services councils could operate, including drag story time events.

This is despite the fact that a Greens councillor in Monash has been one of the fiercest advocates for these events, and the state Greens MPs have been calling for stronger protections against vilification on the basis of sexuality and gender.

Thanks to amendments secured by the Greens, there will now be an important inquiry that will investigate what councils have been urging the Victorian Labor Government to look into for some time.

Victorian Greens local government spokesperson, Dr Sarah Mansfield, said it was clear the Government didn’t want this inquiry up and were trying to mislead Victorians about its nature in an attempt to discredit it.

She added that the Government was likely trying to avoid scrutiny of their own role in cost-shifting and the underfunding of councils.

Quotes attributable to Victorian Greens local government spokesperson, Dr Sarah Mansfield:

“After constructive negotiations and amendments in the Upper House, the Greens were pleased to support this important inquiry.

“We’ve been hearing from councils across the state who want to see a proper investigation into things like cost-shifting, rate-capping, and funding for council services.

“The Government clearly doesn’t want this inquiry to go ahead, and are attempting to discredit it by drawing a very long bow.

“No Government should be above scrutiny, least of all when it comes to their role in supporting our important local government.”

Quotes attributable to Victorian Greens LGBTIQA+ spokesperson, Gabrielle de Vietri MP:

“The Victorian Labor Government has known about the need to expand our anti-vilification laws for years now, but refused to act.

“If they are rightly concerned about the recent cancellation of a drag story time event following threats from the far-right, they should be reforming them as a matter of urgency to protect our queer community.”