Latrobe City Council one year in

RELATED COVERAGE Failure to lead


The Express took a look back at the sitting councillors’ candidate statements issued during the 2012 election. Here is a summary of what they said.

Graeme Middlemiss

All parts of Latrobe City should receive a fair share of development, facilities and services, Cr Middlemiss said. He said he would advocate for economic development and job creation and expressed the view that alternative uses for brown coal were key. He said family services like meals on wheels, libraries and kindergartens must be maintained, despite budget challenges like waste management.

Christine Sindt

Promised to actively pursue concerns about TAFE cuts, homelessness, poor drainage, freeway closures, landslides and mine instability around Morwell. She raised concerns about the cost of utilities and said council rates were too high. Cr Sindt vowed to return to “the basics” of rates, roads and rubbish.

Michael Rossiter

Said he had experienced the “frustration” of the Latrobe Valley being deprived of job opportunities and community development through “dubious governance”. He said said executive decision-making was apparently made without full council consultation and development or asset disposal was occurring against professional advice. He aimed to assist in directing ways the community could return to the vibrant and commercially successful region it was decades ago and help develop a fresh approach to job creation thus reducing social disruption.

Kellie O’Callaghan

Sought to bring effective change, focus on opportunities for the region’s future and address concerns and issues impacting on people locally. She said it was important to have accessible local council services that were well-resourced and sustainable. Cr O’Callaghan said she was committed to advocating strongly for the community across all levels of government, ensuring strong employment, education, business and health opportunities.

Sandy Kam

Vowed to ensure council was responsive to the community’s needs, improve governance, accountability and communication with the community, along with maintaining and improving services. She said she would ensure current projects like indoor aquatic centres, car parking strategy, Traralgon Growth Areas Review, Traralgon Activity Centre Plan and Performing Arts Centre, reflect the views of the communities that will be impacted. Cr Kam said she would work to improve services and inclusiveness in the smaller townships and would “continue to be freely available and always act in an open and honest manner”.

Dale Harriman

Said he would stand up for Traralgon and district and fight to see ratepayers get better value for money. Will continue to stop council’s wastage in its projects, including the performing arts centre relocation to Kernot Hall. Would call for an independent review of council to get better efficiencies and value. “I want to see better land development that acts on what people want, not bureaucrats building dog boxes,” he said.

Darrel White

Said job creation, economic development and prudent financial management were key council priorities. He said he was committed to support for the Gaskin Park Facilities Plan, including a bowls green, along with the support for the needs of Yinnar, Boolarra and surrounding district residents.

Sharon Gibson

Said she valued locals having direct access to her and as such held regular ‘meet the public’ sessions. She vowed to continue to lobby for replacing public toilets in the middle of the Moe central business district, the return of hard rubbish collection, increased council powers to make site owners clean up eyesores, lobbying Canberra for new jobs in light of the carbon tax, NBN for Moe and an independent review on council efficiency to save money for possible rate reduction.

Peter Gibbons

Said he thought Moe, Newborough and surrounding district residents deserved a better deal from council and he believed the community should not have to wait for years for basic services and infrastructure upgrades. He supported job creation, NBN for Moe and Newborough, cheaper water prices, an improved hard rubbish service and community organisations having their own facility, a new skate park near Apex Park, and upgrading the existing Moe Library.


A summary of some of the major decisions made by Latrobe City Council, one year into their four-year term.


-Increased rates by an overall 5.24 per cent.

-Passed a $41 million capital works budget, a $13 million increase on last year. More than $6 million of this related to projects carried forward from the previous year.

-Introduced a new procurement policy which significantly reduced the amount of expenditure managers and officers were allowed to authorise, with the majority of construction variations now having to be approved by councillors themselves.

Planning and development

-Endorsed the Traralgon North Development plan featuring up to 250 residential lots and a large chain supermarket.

-Voted to redefine its bulky goods strategy within the strategy of the current State Government in relation to commercial development

-Approved a planning permit for the staged subdivision of Silcocks Road, Churchill into 76 residential lots.

-Adopted an amendment to its planning scheme, allowing for the rezoning of part of a 98 hectare site at Hazelwood Estate Road, Churchill from farming to residential.

-Released a plan for the future use of the historic Traralgon court house which would include leasing to a private business, while maintaining a section for community use.

-Brokered a works agreement for the Churchill East West Link to allow construction to commence before contracts of sale were finalised.

-Lobbied against construction of a 16-unit, two-storey development in the bowl of McClure Court Traralgon.

Moe Railway Revitalisation project

-Conducted a full review of the project which drew criticism from thousands in the community, resulting in councillors adopting the plan in its original form and resuming the search for funding.

-Completed construction of a clock tower at the precinct and shifted powerlines underground on George Street.

-Initially kept secret the results of a review into its governance processes associated with the Moe project, but later voted to release the information to the public.


-Launched a review of its recreation reserves.

-Released a proposed route for the long-awaited shared pathway to connect Morwell and Traralgon.

-Completed construction of the Morwell skate park on Commercial Road.

-Endorsed the Gippsland Regional Aquatic Centre as a priority project for funding from Regional Development Australia Fund round four.

-Contributed a $25,000 hosting fee to attract the ATP Tennis Challenger world-ranking tournament to Traralgon.

Culture and community

-Released a draft children’s services plan for public comment, looking at its services until 2017.

-Voted to reinstate the Torres Strait Islander flag outside council headquarters.

-Abandons a trip to China to celebrate its 10-year sister city relationship.

-Disbanded four of its environment and economic committees in a bid establish an umbrella group to enable collaboration.

Lobby work

-Publicly condemned the merger of Monash University’s Gippsland Campus and Ballarat University and called for a delay in the process to allow for more community consultation

-Fought to ensure a merger between Moe manufacturing business Safetech and a Melbourne-based company, which did not result in head office being moved to the city and 43 jobs being lost.

-Met with Premier Denis Napthine to discuss local issues and opportunities.