Former councillor puts pressure on Premier to quit

Former Glenelg Shire councillor David Wilson has called for Premier Denis Napthine to resign. Picture: FAIRFAX

Former Glenelg Shire councillor David Wilson has called for Premier Denis Napthine to resign. Picture: FAIRFAX

AS if Premier and South West Coast MP Denis Napthine didn’t have enough trouble on his plate — now Portland ratepayer activist David Wilson has added to the pressure with another call for him to resign.

The long-time critic of local government accounting last week wrote to Dr Napthine demanding his resignation from Parliament.

That follows an earlier letter in March calling for his resignation as Premier.

The Portland small business operator and former councillor has campaigned for almost two decades, highlighting his claims that  rate  increases since the mid-1990s amalgamation have been  soaked up by soaring employee costs.

He wants a high-level review of the council system and suggests one tier of government in Australia should be abolished. 

His latest outburst with Dr Napthine was triggered by a reply he received through Local Government Minister Tim Bull encouraging him to take up his concerns with Glenelg Shire Council.

That’s the same advice Dr Napthine has given for years, including a letter which arrived in Mr Wilson’s mailbox yesterday.

“I now believe you should give up attempting to represent people and resign from Parliament altogether,” Mr Wilson wrote to Dr Napthine.

“I am very sorry Mr Premier, but the reply I received from the Minister of Local Government on your behalf was not satisfactory to the personal questions I asked you as my representative in Parliament.”

Dr Napthine’s office yesterday said Mr Wilson had been given “appropriate advice” during many years to consult Glenelg council and his concerns had been referred to several local government ministers.

Mr Wilson served three years from 1996 to 1999 on the first Glenelg Shire Council after amalgamation.

“The whole aim of amalgamation was to cut costs, but in fact they’ve spiralled and rates are just paying employee costs,” he told The Standard this week. “Council budget statements must be clearer — they mislead ratepayers.

“If my research is right every ratepayer in Victoria should be concerned because it affects liveability.”

pcollins@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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