Democracy in Glen Eira is moribund. Decisions are made by this administration prior to any so called ‘community consultation’. Even councillors are denied access to all relevant data either in time for the thousands of pages to be digested properly, or with-held completely. Ultimately, all this means is that decision making and community consultation in Glen Eira is a joke!

Whether it is McKenzie or Torres, the decision to NOT PUBLISH all community responses in full on the Housing Strategy is the most recent case in point. This has now expanded to include contentious projects detailed in the current agenda. We will itemise our concerns with these two projects.

Alma Village Pop-up Park

We have to query the value of any consultation (ignoring of course the effect of the various sub-standard questions asked) when residents who decide to respond are not provided with enough information to come to some reasonable conclusions as to the proposed project. For example, in the above ‘consultation’, there are plenty of drawbacks, plus residents have never been informed as to:

  • The final estimated cost of the project
  • The number of residential/road car park spots to be lost
  • Traffic analysis dates from 2018 and is therefore way out of date
  • Not even a consultation ‘summary’ report included – it is incorporated into the officer’s report

Interestingly, this officer’s report does include the following:

Page 556 of the agenda states:All feedback received is attached.

Page 561 states: All feedback received is included as an attachment with names and identifiers removed.
One letter from a local business and property owner is included with all details.

None of these attachments are included in the agenda! Our commiserations to the officer since it is obvious that the decision to with-hold the full feedback was done following the writing of this report! Decisions on the run no doubt as a result of community criticism.

The report itself recommends that council proceed with the pop-up park, despite the fact that we are told that the feedback results were ‘split evenly’ between those who supported the idea and those opposed. When nearly half of respondents are opposed, then surely some re-thinking is necessary? But no! The project is still pushed onwards!

Circular Economy Feedback

For this ‘consultation’ we do get a ‘summary consultation’ report. Sadly, there has also been some late editing/censorship for this item. In the contents page we are told that the actual survey questions for both the ‘community members’ and for ‘businesses’ are included as Appendix A and Appendix B. THEY ARE NOT!

As per normal, what we do get is a ‘summary of themes’ rather than a full insight into what people said or wrote, plus some demographic info.


Recent decisions to with-hold information and commentary from residents is deliberate and has nothing to do with ‘transparency’ and privacy’. If identifying information could be removed in countless previous consultations and all feedback published, then it should also apply to the most important consultations such as the Housing Strategy and the structure plans. Council has therefore entered the new realm of censorship in the hope that residents will accept the spin, and bullshit that typifies council’s reporting in these matters.

We have had of late survey after survey, where the questions fail to address the central issues and proposals of the item. Most are Dorothy Dixers, designed to elicit the response required. They do NOT seek to garner what the community really thinks or wants. They are prepared in order to substantiate the decision that this administration has already made. We do not even know if councillors have any say in the creation of these questions. The Community Engagement Committee certainly does not – when in fact they should be a vital component of the process.

But even more alarming is council’s failure to adhere to the IAPP2 scenarios of engagement and to inform residents of the ‘influence’ their input can and will have. All consultations in Glen Eira do not even come close to the ‘involve’ or ‘collaborate’ criteria. Most are simply ‘inform’ and with ‘consult’. It remains a top-down approach. Here are the selected options, now pick one! The money splurged on these bogus consultations is simply mind-boggling. But naturally, we will never be told how much!

By way of contrast, we ask readers to have a long, hard look at what Bayside is currently doing on one of its consultations, and which they have done for all of their important consultations. That is letting residents know well in advance the extent of ‘influence’ they can have. Various methodologies are then implemented to ensure these criterion are met. Not so in Glen Eira. All residents are told is that the feedback will be ‘considered’.

Here is the Bayside approach:


Finally a recommendation to readers:

  • If you are providing any feedback to council directly, then we believe it is imperative that you also cc your comments to all councillors. This can be easily accomplished via this email: Our suggestion is based on our real doubt that councillors are informed fully as to what residents say/want. Communicating directly with them will ensure that the ‘gate-keeping’ of this administration is reduced.
  • Public questions should also be sent to councillors. We again doubt that councillors have much time to digest the public questions and certainly not too much time to provide responses in the record of assembly meetings held just prior to entering the chamber.