Mountains of minutes wanted

LATROBE City Council is seeking access to decades of meeting minutes to help it make sense of Monash University’s proposal to merge its Gippsland campus with the University of Ballarat.

It has voted to request the minutes of all Monash University Gippsland Advisory Council meetings ahead of its yet-to-be-scheduled discussions with Vice Chancellor Ed Byrne.

Councillor Christine Sindt, who led the move, hopes the minutes will help council engage with the professor “in a positive manner”.

“Getting the minutes will provide a historical context of what went wrong,” Cr Sindt said.

According to the Monash University website, the advisory group is set up to build links between the campus and the wider community and ensure it “continues to be relevant and responsive to its needs”.

Under a new university structure, it is likely the advisory council would be disestablished and replaced by new mechanisms for the Gippsland community to have its say, according to the website.

Gaining access to the group’s meeting minutes was not supported by all councillors, with Michael Rossiter, Graeme Middlemiss, and Kellie O’Callaghan saying it was not necessary.

The way in which Cr Sindt proposed the move was also criticised.

Her motion was not part of Monday night’s agenda and Cr Sindt raised it as a matter of ‘urgent business’.

Crs Rossiter, Middlemiss and O’Callaghan, along with mayor Sandy Kam attempted to block the issue from being debated, arguing it did not qualify as urgent business.

“There are other ways of getting the information Cr Sindt requires,” Cr O’Callaghan said.

Cr Sindt said the matter was urgent in light of Monash University’s community consultation sessions which started today.

“It’s about opening the door to conversations before the the door is slammed shut,” Cr Sindt said.