Horsham Rural City Council has welcomed a final report from Municipal Monitor Jude Holt which calls for action to encourage more community leaders to consider becoming a councillor.
HRCC last year requested the appointment of a Municipal Monitor as part of its commitment to good governance and to help guide the Councillor team.
In her final report delivered to Minister for Local Government Melissa Horne, Ms Holt recommended that Council invested in a community leadership program to support potential candidates at the 2024 local government election.
Chief Executive Officer Sunil Bhalla said Council had accepted the report’s recommendations and it had started work on an implementation plan.
“As an organisation we all share a common goal to do the best we can for our community and we are always looking for opportunities to improve,” he said.
“We thank Ms Holt for the assistance she provided across her six-month appointment. It’s now up to us to deliver the improvements that have been highlighted,” Mr Bhalla said.
As part of the report, Ms Holt wrote that HRCC had a history of low candidate numbers at elections, with nine at the 2020 election, 14 at the 2016 election, and 11 at the 2012 election.
“At the same time, community members and community groups appear to be interested in Council’s activities, programs, and projects through social media interactions and attendance at Council Meetings. However, this interest does not appear to be translating into candidates,” her report said.
Mr Bhalla said details of the recommended leadership program would be announced in the coming months.
Ms Holt started at HRCC in July 2022 and completed her term at the end of January 2023.
She observed governance processes, reported back on issues and provided advice to Councillors and the executive team.
Ms Horne released the final report on Wednesday.
“I acknowledge the extensive work completed by municipal monitor Jude Holt in helping the council transition back to good governance, processes and practices over the past six months,” she said.
“The findings highlight improvements in Horsham Rural City Council’s performance with the final report recommending no further intervention beyond one recommendation.”
“Thanks to Ms Holt’s work, and the cooperative manner in which the council worked with the monitor, the council is in a position to provide strong, well-informed leadership for the advancement of the community.”
Download Monitor’s Final Report