Presented below is the transcript of a public question taken from the minutes of April 30th, 2009 and the response provided by the then Mayor, and councillor rep on the Racecourse Reserve Trustees, Helen Whiteside. Comparing the response presented below and the utter silence that emanates from current and past trustees today, we question:

  • why this difference in approach;
  • what has happened in the intervening years to create this ‘secret society’?
  • Who is responsible?
  • And why are council and councillors so complicit in this clamp down on information dissemination?
  • If details of trustee meetings were provided 4 years ago, then why doesn’t this council provide any public report?
  • Are all councillors even kept in the loop about what happens at these trustee meetings? Or does the ‘secret society’ now extend only to Newton and the annointed Lipshutz, Esakoff, and Hyams?

Subject: Caulfield Racecourse Trustees
“By way of a comprehensive report, please tell me what transpired at the last meeting of the Caulfield Racecourse Trustees on or about Thursday 19th March 2009.”

The Mayor responded to your Public Question. She said:

“The Trustees’ meeting took place on 19 March 2009. In attendance were 14 of the 15 Trustees, including myself, Cr Tang and Cr Staikos, the Secretary Mr Cleaver and the Business Affairs Manager of the MRC.

There were four main items of business.

Firstly, the Trustees considered the “Communique” between the MRC and Council. The “Communique” proposed that after training had been relocated from Caulfield, land on Neerim Road would be excised from the Racecourse Reserve and be
incorporated into Glen Huntly Park under the control of the Council. The Trustees by a majority decided that they did not wish Trust land to be excised. The Trustees decided to ask the MRC and Council to propose alternative arrangements to give
effect to the underlying intentions of the Communique.

Secondly, the Trustees considered an MRC plan for the development of the centre around the lake. The plan was in two stages with the community facilities in the second stage. Concern was expressed that the area for passive open space had been substantially reduced from what had been previously agreed and Trustees decided that the MRC and Council should consider revised plans for presentation to the next meeting of Trustees.

Thirdly, the Chairman advised that he had received a letter from the Ombudsman about alleged conflict of interest and the Chairman distributed a copy of the Chairman’s reply.

Fourthly, the Trustees agreed that two draft policies should be prepared for consideration at the next meeting:
• A draft policy on Conflict of Interest and
• A draft policy on who should be permitted to attend Trustees’ meetings.”