Geelong mayor and council to be sacked



The Victorian government will move to have the entire Geelong City Council sacked after an independent inquiry found it had a culture of bullying and harassment.

Minister for Local Government Natalie Hutchins said the report from the Commission of Inquiry outlined serious governance failures that left the state government little choice but to dismiss the council.

The government will bring legislation into the Parliament on Tuesday to make the move official.

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It will ask for the council to be dismissed until elections in October 2020, with an administrator to be appointed until then.

Former celebrity photographer and businessman Darryn Lyons surprised many when he was elected the mayor of Geelong in November 2013.

The report said the council needed to be removed due to “a serious failure to provide good government, with the council so dysfunctional it is unable to work together in the city’s best interests”.

“Its standard [is] well below that expected of a city of Geelong’s size and economic importance,” it said.

It also found it had failed to develop a long-term vision and strategic plan for the city or properly respond to a previous report, which found deep flaws within the council.

“The report outlines serious governance failures, among other issues, leaving the government no choice but to dismiss the council,” Ms Hutchins said in a statement.

“It is not a decision that has been taken lightly. The people of Geelong deserve better.

“The city is too important for it to be run by a dysfunctional council that is simply unable to work together.”

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