Why re-elect Stephen Mayne to City of Melbourne


October 24, 2016

Here is a package of material supporting the re-election of independent Stephen Mayne to City of Melbourne in the Victorian local government elections.

Firstly, here is the 250 word statement that we submitted for the postal ballot pack that is being sent out to 133,000 voters this week:

Candidates: Stephen Mayne and Johanna Maxwell

Group Name: "Stephen Mayne: Transparency, Independence, Accountability, Experience".

Whoever you select to run our wonderful city – we will independently hold them to account from the sensible centre.

That's exactly what has happened these past 4 years where Cr Stephen Mayne has chaired the Finance and Governance committee and leveraged the balance of power to transform City of Melbourne into Australia's most open and transparent council.

We now have public question time, audio of council meetings online, an online conflicts of interest register and a ban on councillor meetings with developers without a planning officer present. This story of City of Melbourne disclosure and transparency reform has attracted local government interest from across Australia.

By all means support the Lord Mayor, as Cr Mayne often does. He does a great job. But too much power is unhealthy! Take out some insurance by voting for Stephen in the separate council election.

Stephen spent 27 years through journalism, publishing (Crikey.com), shareholder activism, government roles and ABC broadcasting talking truth to power and independently promoting good governance.

He watches your dollars like a hawk, has taken no overseas junkets, costs ratepayers less than all other councillors, is running a donation-free campaign and can spot a rort a mile off. He's looking after your interests.

Johanna Maxwell and her husband are small business owners and have lived and worked in Docklands for almost 10 years. Johanna is President of the Docklands Chamber of Commerce. Together we support single governance of the waterways, activation of Victoria Harbour waterways, retention of water-based fireworks and redevelopment of Harbour Esplanade.

Governance reforms at City of Melbourne


Telling the community what is going on, always pushing for disclosure and transparency and being completely independent of any faction, councillor, donor, lobby group, media outlet or political party has been the key focus of the past four years.

This had lead to a huge governance reform program, largely achieved with consensus with the elected colleagues. The vast majority of changes have been unanimously supported when it came to the vote.

Go here for a list of more than 60 governance reforms and transparency proposals which have been rolled out over the past 4 years at City of Melbourne and see this end of term transparency report put together by the officers. Many of these reforms have been delivered by moving notices of motion. See the full list of 55 Cr Mayne motions at committee and council meetings over the past 4 years.

Future policy focus

In addition to those outlined in the candidate statement, here are 10 more policy areas where Stephen Mayne will continue to push for change if re-elected for a second term:

# Providing more incentives and support to turbo-charge the growth of car share schemes in the City of Melbourne. Sydney has 20% of residents signed up whereas we are only at about 6%. Lost the argument on this one during the current term.

# Publically release a detailed budget and financing plan for the Queen Victoria Market renewal over and above the generic "up to $250 million" commitment and before major construction commences in December 2017

# Keep pushing the officers for a detailed 10 year capital works program, which has so far been resisted in order to retain flexibility and not build up community expectations. This can be managed by being straight with everyone and there would be significant upside from publically disclosing a detailed pipeline of projects with specific annual allocations, including at QVM which is our biggest ever project.

# Introducing a system of online disclosure for tickets to events which councillors can access for themselves, associates and stakeholders. Failed to win support for this one from the colleagues and forthcoming disclosure of last 4 years through an FOI application has been delayed until after the election.

# Stepping up the roll-out of safe bicycle paths, including a dedicated lane headed southbound over Princes Bridge, which the current council failed to deliver. It was in the bike plan but we blinked when we shouldn't have.

# Publically disclosing the circa 1000 permits granted each year for events in City of Melbourne managed parks. If we release our lease register then why not a permits register for events in public spaces as well. This would better inform the community on events and also potentially encourage more applications.

# Persuading the State Government to make the Docklands developer agreements public or at least confidentially available to City of Melbourne officers and councillors. Council has formally requested this from the State Government but not had any joy thus far, even though we are effectively a joint venture regulatory regime on planning matters in the City of Melbourne.

# Doing more to deliver affordable housing in Melbourne through developer bonuses in the planning process. We ended up settling with "up to 15%" affordable housing on council owned land in our housing policy but didn't support any meaningful planning levers to encourage it on private land.

# Backing up the rhetoric of the skate plan with a $1m-plus spend over the next term delivering better facilities after we took away Lincoln Square in a great rush.

# Support more active recreation and events in our parks against the extremist position put by some that have tried to remove the Melbourne International Flower and Garden show from the Exhibition Buildings and Carlton Gardens and also tried to prevent a new toilet being built at the new playground in Royal Park.

# Given that we have the best paid staff of any local government in Australia (169 earned more than $139,000 in 2015-16), look to shift the dial for less internal labour consumption of ratepayer funds, relative to categories such as capital works, service contracts and grants.