WRAP media release - 16 July 2020
Ratepayers' Petition to the Meander Valley Council knock back
The Meander Valley Council yesterday declined to hold a public meeting further to a petition lodged with the Council on 1 June 2020 containing over 800 signatures.
The number of signatories required to compel the Council to hold a public meeting is 747 people on the electoral roll for the municipality.
By the Council's own reckoning, the petition contained 661 valid signatories. The Council considered that an additional 102 ratepayers in the municipality should not be counted as they had not provided their full address. WRAP had offered to provide the Council with the additional information for these 102 signatories before its meeting, but this offer was declined by the General Manager.
"We think that the Council's approach to this petition has been self-serving. Even taking Council's acknowledged number of 661, the petition fell short of being able to compel a public meeting by a meagre 86 signatures. Had the additional detail we offered been accepted by the Council, it would have had no choice but to hold the meeting.
And despite the fact that the petition did not reach the necessary numbers to compel a meeting, the option was still there under the legislation for the Council to choose to do so. In this sense the Mayor's suggestion in The Examiner today that the petition was non-compliant, with the implication that no meeting could be called, is misleading.
Nevertheless, WRAP acknowledges that the petition was signed in the context of the Glen Avon Farms industrial site, and this site has thankfully now been abandoned.
Moving forward, we believe that the Council must face its community publicly to properly canvass sentiment on the Northern Regional Prison proposal.
We therefore propose to gather signatures on a new petition seeking a public meeting on the Northern Regional Prison proposal. We now know that Council will most likely decline to hold a meeting unless compelled to do so and we will ensure that there are no loopholes this time around."
President, WRAP Inc