Apollo Bay, Victoria - on the Great Ocean Road

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We set out below notes from the Candidates Forum held in Apollo Bay on Sunday 7 October 2012 - 3 weeks prior to the close of voting - so you can be reminded of the statements made by the then candidates for election.

The following were elected:
(now) Crs Brian Crook, Michael Delahunty, Stephen Hart, Mick McCrickard, Lyn Russell, Chris Smith & Terry Woodcroft.


 Sunday 7 October 2012

Thirty residents attended the forum on Sunday afternoon, to listen to ten of the candidates for the upcoming local council elections.

Candidates in attendance were Stephen Hart, Stuart Hart, Tony Webber, Bob Knowles, Frank Buchanan, Lyn Russell, Michael Delahunty, Steve Branwhite, Rod Spence and Brian Crook.


Many topics were covered including –


Rate rises - All agreed that rate rises must be kept to a minimum. Crs.Stephen and Stuart Hart have been regularly out voted when increases above 6% have been proposed. Tony Webber advocated to limit rate rises to 5% p/a. All candidates agreed that the differential rate for Apollo Bay should be kept to 85% of the Colac rate, due to higher property values in Apollo Bay.


Council spending and staffing – All agreed a review of council spending and staffing was needed immediately to prioritise objectives and decrease debt, (wouldn’t it be great if residents and ratepayers had a say in this process!!). Savings could be achieved by capping staff numbers, video conferencing, a more economic staff car fleet, a cheaper superannuation scheme for staff, no more building purchases to house the growing bureaucracy, etc. Steve Branwhite proposed Colac Lake should be mined for sand to create jobs and wealth for COS!!


AB heated indoor pool – all agreed that it was a good idea, but the ongoing running costs were the biggest issue. Tony Webber had the most positive approach for a community led fund raising appeal with support from the Bendigo community bank. Stuart Hart suggested a heated salt water or thermal heated mineral water swimming pool would create an iconic health and well being tourist attraction for Apollo Bay.


Resort development at the AB harbour precinct – Candidates Webber, Hart, Knowles, Hart and Spence strongly opposed a resort based proposal. Candidates Russell, Crook, Buchanan, Delahunty and Branwhite were NON COMMITAL !!  (A lot of time, money and resources will be wasted by the COS planning department if this divisive resort based proposal is reintroduced)


Private development in national parksStephen Hart, Webber, Russell and Spence were opposed. Delahunty, Branwaite, Crook, Knowles and Buchanan would look at any proposals on a case by case basis. Stuart Hart felt it was a state government issue and expressed no view.


Finally political affiliations were declared with Russell, Branwhite and Knowles as independents, Delahunty and Buchanan as former Liberal members, Webber and Stephen Hart as Greens members, Crook as a former Labor member, Spence a Liberal voter, and Stuart Hart a confirmed swinger !!


Many other issues were canvassed during the afternoon of light entertainment.

Lots of spin but not a lot of substance!! 

Lets hope we get a group of councillors who will listen to their constituents, then proceed with consensus and not just blindly accept the bureaucrats wisdom(?).

Otway Forum thanks all for their attendance and the Youth Club for the use of the hall.


Secretary Peter Fillmore