Mr. J. BULL (Sunbury) — I rise to ask the Minister for Local Government for an update on a very important issue in my constituency. Members of the house will be aware of the proposed separation of Sunbury and Bulla from the City of Hume, as planned by the Liberal government and scheduled for 1 July this year.
Since being elected I have met and spoken with many residents and heard a wide range of views from both sides of this argument. It is clear to me that this issue is causing great concern and division within our community. During the 2014 campaign this issue prompted many questions from locals who were unsure of what the split would mean for them and their families. Since the election I have received much correspondence from residents asking about the potential increase in rates, the effect on the delivery of services and the potential asset division between Hume and the proposed new council. These are questions the Liberal government was neither willing nor able to answer.
On Friday, 27 March, I joined the Minister for Local Government in Sunbury to announce that the government had acted to ensure the welfare of local residents, a number of whom work for Hume City Council. We acted so that residents would not be disadvantaged by the upcoming separation, previously scheduled to occur on 1 July. The minister advised the community that the Victorian government would extend the order in council by 12 months. This important decision to extend the order was made by the government to address the ongoing and unresolved issues pertaining to services, staff and asset management.
The Minister for Local Government was left with no option but to delay the split, following advice from Hume City Council that there are still too many unresolved issues and that the time remaining is insufficient to fix them. To assist with the number of issues the former government left in its wake, the Minister for Local Government has appointed as transition auditors Frank Vincent, QC, and John Watson, a respected Sunbury resident with over 40 years of municipal experience. It is expected that these newly appointed transition auditors will work with Hume City Council to oversee the proposed split and work alongside the community to ensure the best possible outcome for our hardworking residents.
Today I ask the minister for an update for my community on the work of John Watson and Frank Vincent, an update that I am sure will be warmly welcomed by residents.