The above screen dump comes from council’s proposed actions to support the community during the current COVID pandemic. As with countless other municipalities, Glen Eira recognises that residents, businesses and sporting clubs need assistance. This is to be commended. What is not to be commended however is the lack of financial detail and communication that is clear and unambiguous.

For instance, we are told that there will be: ‘rent relief for Council Community and some Commercial tenants…….’. Exactly what does this mean? Will there be zero rent for 3 months, 6 months for community groups renting council facilities? Will they instead have a 50% reduction, a 25% reduction? And what does ‘some Commercial tenants’ really mean?– which ones and on what basis will they be eligible? Nor are we given any indication as to how much any of this will cost? The only clear statement from this paragraph relates to sporting groups and even here we don’t know the eventual cost to council.

Compare this shadowy report with what Kingston has provided. Admittedly these are only ‘guesstimates’ but at least Kingston’s ratepayers have some idea of how the sums have been calculated. Also worth noting is that they are willing to defer rents for all of their community rentals unlike Glen Eira.  Here’s one page from their report and we’ve uploaded the full report HERE

Our objective is not to quibble or argue against what is proposed. Our concern rests entirely with the lack of substance and hence transparency that permeates this report. We are told that cost to council will ultimately be $7.4 million, but the only figure that is provided in both item 8.3 and item 8.4 states that council will lose $500,000 in late fee interest for payment of rates. How we get from $500,000 to $7.4 million is thus anyone’s guess! Compounding this even further we do not know how many staff, especially casuals, have been stood down and what ‘saving’ this represents to Council, nor how it will affect essential operations.

We appreciate that projections may be difficult. But the nature of these reports continues the tradition in Glen Eira of vague, unsubstantiated claims, lack of detail, and councillors voting something in without enough information to arrive at real informed decision making! This has happened far too often in Glen Eira for it to be anything but deliberate!