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Committee to be dissolved

29 Oct 2015

By Bethany Williams

Docklands will no longer receive special financial reporting after the Docklands Co-ordination Committee (DCC) is officially dissolved this month.

A bill was passed in Parliament on October 20 to repeal the legislation that required the committee to exist.

The move comes more than two years after the council’s Future Melbourne Committee voted to request legislative changes to dismantle the committee, saying the Docklands Community Forum (DCF) was a better model.

While the Legislative Council has passed the bill, there are further steps to be taken to officially dissolve the committee.

According to a Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP)  spokesperson, the bill received Royal Assent on October 27, after which there would be a separate proclamation of the provision that repeals the DCC, which is likely to occur in November.

“The DCC’s role has been made redundant following the establishment of the Docklands Community Forum by the council, which provides an improved mechanism for consultation and decision making on matters relating to the Docklands Co-ordination Area,” the spokesperson said.

However, the Docklands Community Forum doesn’t require the council to provide Docklands-specific financial reporting.

Comprising representatives from the City of Melbourne and Places Victoria, the Docklands Co-ordination Committee was formed as part of the 2007 agreement between the City of Melbourne and State Government to share responsibility for Docklands.

Given Docklands status as a fledgling suburb, the committee and Docklands-specific reporting was seen as a way of ensuring transparency.

Part of the legislation required the council to report what it earned from and spent in Docklands and the surplus it reaped.

The most recent financial report, released at the final Docklands Co-ordination Committee meeting in September, revealed Council made a $9.16 million surplus from Docklands in the previous financial year.

Apart from finance, the legislation also required the council to separately report on Docklands’ infrastructure and place management.

This information will now be absorbed into council’s reporting on the municipality as a whole, through the annual plan and budget.

Attempts to include Docklands-specific financial reporting as part of the DCF, which was formed in 2012, also failed.

In 2013, when councillors voted to request the legislative changes to allow the Docklands Co-ordination Committee to be dissolved, they also agreed to an amendment proposed by Cr Rohan Leppert.

The amendment called for a review of the roles and purposes of the DCF within the following 12 months and called for the issue of annual reporting of financial information to the community to be addressed at that time.

However, when the DCF’s revised terms of reference were revealed in February 2014, there was no mention of financial reporting to the Docklands community.

The gradual decline of the Docklands Co-ordination Committee is evident through the decrease in meetings since the committee was originally formed in 2007.

Originally meeting six times per year, in 2008 this was reduced to quarterly meetings.

In 2012 the committee met three times, but since 2013 the group has only met annually and appeared to be just a formality to meet legislative requirements.

Minutes from the final meeting on September 15 show the meeting lasted just four minutes.

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