We thought it would be instructive to see how Glen Eira may have changed over the years – to discover whether processes, services, and governance practices have actually improved in the past 6 years. Our guide has been public and councillor questions dating mainly from 2004. We conclude that basically residents have the same concerns today as they did six years ago – childcare, aged care, openness and transparency, effective communication/consultation and planning issues. Reading these questions it is obvious that nothing much has changed in Glen Eira – except that public questions are no longer taken on notice. The quality of current answers however is another issue!! These questions provide a sad commentary on how little has actually been achieved.

“As Council has made a profit from selling of aged care facilities within the City and not actually increased places in the City, I ask what is being done with the profit and further what is being done to seek government funding in order to increase aged care facilities in the City?” (26th May, 2003)

“What are Council’s public policy objectives for child care and how do they achieve them?”(3rd May, 2004)

“The treatment of Childcare under the State Government’s new competitive neutrality policy requires the implementation of a public interest test prior to the application of CN pricing because of the inherent public policy issues associated with childcare.Can Council please explain why it has failed to undertake a public interest test prior to applying CN pricing policies to childcare services?” (3rd May, 2004) 

Cr Sapir referred to a public interest test and asked if one had been carried out and if so to what degree. She further asked; “what consultation process did Council take to advise parents that there was a proposed fee increase”? (24th May, 2004) 

“Why Minutes of Council Meetings are not available for distribution on request at the Caulfield Library? Should not that be part of standard policy of engagement of the community? Ready availability of such documents should add to the proper governance of the Council?” (24th May, 2004) 

“Can you please advise why did the Council cut down several 25 to 30 metre high trees on the corner of Jasmine and Birch without consultation with the near byresidents?” (9th Feb, 2004) 

“Since the Glen Eira Council has decided to stop subsidizing childcare centres with ratepayer income in the next financial year, will Glen Eira ratepayers see a reduction in rates as a result?” (22nd March, 2004) 

“Re Council Statement of Financial Performance to 29 February. Can you please reveal the source or sources of the above budget revenue of $954,000 from ‘other’sources in above budget? Have our drillers struck oil?” (22nd March, 2004) 

“How does Council justify that public questions that were asked in March 2003 have received a response on 6 April 2004 advising that the questions do not conform with Council’s public question time procedure. Please provide appropriate and specific explanations as this does not comply with acceptable time frames to me as by now I have given up on getting adequate answers from Council.” (13th April, 2004) 

“Why won’t Council undertake a ‘Public Interest Test” on childcare to assess community response?” (15th June, 2004) 

“The Community Plan that was passed this evening is supposed to provide a plan for the community to use as a means of measuring Council’s performance up to 2010. The indicators for 2010 however need further clarification. Which 3 park masterplans are intended for development? What does Council mean by consulting with the University? What are the character amendments that are to be adopted?Which community centre is to be built? What about the 3rd community centre? What are the implications of keeping rates to at least 10% below our 7 Benchmark Councils? These are but a few questions that need to be answered in a Community Plan that purports to be a vision for the future?” (15th June, 2004) 

“We would be most grateful if a meeting could be arranged with relevant councillors and staff (prior to the release of second round offers scheduled for 27th August), in order to discuss the Council’s enrolment policy which fails to give priority to the children currently attending ‘3 year old kinder’ and who wish to continue on with their pre-school education at the same kinder the following year?” (16th August, 2004) 

“As Cr Erlich has observed the report to tonight’s meeting is interesting but unless a measure of input is used together with output, it is largely meaningless from the point of view of effectiveness. Will Council consider reporting the appropriate ‘INPUT’ as well as ‘output’ in future service reports?” (6th September, 2004) 

 “Will the Council apply its generous concessions given to tennis clubs to childcare centres and if not could it please explain why the council’s policy that services used by a minority of the community should be cost neutral and not subsidized by ratepayers, applies to childcare centres but not tennis clubs?” (27th September, 2004) 

“The Agenda papers for Council Meeetings have for some time included public questions and answers. I note that the Agenda papers have, for the last 2-3 meetings, not included Public Questions and Answers. Can Council explain why this is so? Is there anything preventing Council from continuing with this practice?”(8th November, 2004) 

“Of all C type Amendments proceeded with a statutory process:1. How many have used the full statutory process of 6 steps? 2. How many use only 2 steps? 3. How many used broad community consultation prior to step 1 of the statutory process? and 4. How many used a public discussion paper as part of broad community consultation prior to step 1 of the statutory process?” (29th November, 2004) 

“Will Council put the proceeds from sale of Council land toward purchase of alternative open space in Glen Eira, & that purpose only.” (29th November, 2004) 

“The Minister for Planning announced that Councils may apply for a number of interim height controls to provide for greater certainty for residents & developers. Will Council take up on this initiative?” (29th November, 2004)