Clare Le Serve

I am a long-term Bass Coast resident and a current Western Port Ward Councillor. In my eight years of experience I have been Mayor, have mentored and guided newly elected Councillors andparticipated in many successful regional projects being achieved.

I stood as an Independent Candidate at the 2014 and 2018 State Elections as I believe we deserveto be represented by all levels of Government. I consider my strength is being a strong advocate forthe community. I will continue to actively lobby all levels of Government so Bass Coast residents receive infrastructure grants, major projects and environmental protection undertakings.

I am motivated and strongly committed to the issues of family, education and improving outcomes, as demonstrated with the Bass Valley Children’s Centre. A community-based partnership project that was much needed in the district. I believe strongly in social justice-based programs that support communities and have been a community development worker, where I performed vital roles working with disadvantaged groups to achieve better outcomes for themselves and their families.

If re-elected I will continue to work for the improvement of Council’s governance and accountability as good financial management is critical in order to deliver quality services to the community. I offer clear direction and strong leadership and I am committed to a transparent Council for this community.

I will strongly advocate for road maintenance and improved road management solutions and two examples are San Remo, where there are major road safety concerns and poor road conditions, and Newhaven, who need strong advocacy to achieve a positive outcome to a long-standing issue. I will advocate to Regional Roads Victoria for priority works in this section of the Shire and many others.

I support environmental management and protection programs and I understand the need to act on climate change and coastal erosion. Our coastlines are in need of an urgent plan and we need to act now to fix the problems faced within our coastal communities.

I am opposed to AGL’s dirty plans to turn Western Port into a gas import terminal. I will lobby hard to protect the Bay and continue to campaign against the industrialising of Western Port. The Bay needs to be protected and free of container ships and large floating storage and re-gasification ships. All levels of Government must be lobbied to stop plans that spell disaster for our bay, the animals, birds and marine life that call it home and I will continuously oppose projects where the outcome would be an increase in climate pollution from dirty fossil fuels. I support recreational fishing, our region’s way of life and protecting the natural environment of Western Port.

I am committed to the revitalising of our tourism and business sectors after the COVID lockdown. It is important to create economic and employment opportunities across Bass Coast. My small business experience gives me a great understanding of the difficulties being faced.

My farming experience gives me an awareness of the importance of the agricultural sector in the region. I will continue to support farmers and their need for rate relief, road maintenance, roadside weed spraying and the specific impacts of climate change on this sector.

Bass Coast has many talented creative people and a vibrant arts and cultural community. I am committed to continuing my support to this sector of the community that helps drive diversity, economic benefit and recovery, aid in mental health and I’ll continue to encourage community lead arts projects and public art within Bass Coast.

I’ve enjoyed my role as a Councillor representing and advocating for the community. I strongly believe in community engagement and consultation. I have worked well as part of the Western Port Ward multi-member team for 4 years with Councillors Kent and Ellis. Together we offer voters a diverse range of skills and strong representation for the region.

“I am seeking your vote and want to thank the community for their ongoing support”.

Questions 1 thru 15 are from BCRRA and 16 thru 34 are collated from the community questions received. Candidates were asked to respond to all 34

  1. Why do you believe the community should vote for you?
    I will work for the improvement of Council’s governance and accountability. I believe good financial management is critical in order to deliver quality services to the community. I offer clear direction and strong leadership and I am committed to a transparent and efficient Council for this community.
  2. What are your strengths in working with people?
    I have good communication and interpersonal skills, I will listen and act for the community.
  3. If elected, how will you demonstrate that you stand at the front of the community rather than standing beside the bureaucracy?
    I have always respected the community and value their views.
  4. What considerations, inclusions or deletions will you take when forming your new Council Plan?
    The Council Plan will be developed by community consultation, I would continue to encourage people to participate in this process. This is important because it’s the community’s plan and represents who we are and our values.
  5. How will you demonstrate that you remain focused on financial discipline at Council?
    The Audit Committee plays an important role with three skills-based Independent members, Council has an internal and an external audit process which is conducted by the Auditor General’s Office. I have been a member of the Audit Committee and will continue to assess the situation.
  6. Is Council’s 4 year Strategic Resource Plan together with the 10 year financial plan appropriate to meet the future needs of The Bass Coast Shire Council and its Ratepayers?
  7. Will you be prepared to challenge the system (council officers and fellow councillors) to keep your constituents well informed?
  8. Will you take action to investigate the 10 year Waste Contract details in the first 12 months of your term as a councillor? Will you review the contract model settings and make findings publicly available?
    If required, I will aim to have the contract benchmarked against like contracts.
  9. Will you support continued live streaming of open Council Meetings and availability of a publicly available video archive?
  10. Will you take action to review the Governance Rules Policy in the first 12 months of your term as a councillor including community consultation?
  11. Will you take action to Review the Media Engagement Policy in the first 12 months of your term as a councillor including community consultation?
  12. If elected, what commitment will you make to improve Council engagement with the wider community and build community engagement with your local ward?
    The Western Port Ward Councillors have for 4 years put out community updates & newsletters. We have and will continue to do community-based meetings via zoom or in person. We also have social media pages and are committed to meeting and talking to the community.
  13. How will you ensure that the CEO and officers genuinely and respectfully answer all public questions with a sincere response that address the core of each question?
  14. Do you believe that keeping any increases to rates, fees and charges within the State Government Rate Cap or below the CPI increase is paramount for Council?
  15. Would you be in favour of regular virtual community connection sessions in lieu of the previous model used by Council?
    Yes, good idea
  16. Why are you standing as a Councillor?
    To offer the community experienced representation and commitment to be being their voice on Council.
  17. Do you live in the ward you seek to represent, and why should we vote for you?
    Yes, I live in the Western Port Ward at Corinella and believe that we need to make sure we get adequate funding and services in this ward.
  18. Council recently commenced Live Streaming meetings (for a trial period). They also recently adopted policies defining Council engagement with social and other media. How do you feel about these?
    Live streaming has enabled Council to connect to the community in these COVID times and has worked successfully. I will continue to use social media as a way of reaching the community.
  19. How would you improve Council engagement with the wider community and build community engagement with your local ward?
    I believe in sitting down with people and to listening and to trying to work out ways to achieve good outcomes.
  20. Public Transparency and good Governance are at the core of BCRRA’s purpose. Council has recently adopted new policies covering Governance Rules and Public Transparency.
    These are important governance principals and they need to be open to community consultation.
  21. Do you feel there is a need to review these policies, and if so when should this be done?
    Yes and these policies should be reviewed annual.
  22. What role do you feel community consultation has in reviewing these policies?
    Community consultation should be a part of the process.
  23. What measures would you put in place to demonstrate honesty and transparency in your decisions and spending of ratepayers’ money?
    Being open and honest and making sure that good business practises are in place.
  24. Do you think ‘The Fair Go’ rate cap is better or worse than limiting rate rises to CPI?
    I agree with the current rate cap.
  25. Bass Coast Shire has budgeted for a significant amount of Capital Works in the coming years. How do you feel about the level of borrowing necessary to deliver these?
    I agree with the borrowing policy.
  26. What is your opinion of Council’s current financial position? And of the outlook projected in the Long Term Financial Plan?
    I agree with the structure of the 10-year financial plan.
  27. What is your opinion of the 10-year waste contract agreed by the last Council late in 2016?
    I agree with the decision.
  28. And what do you think of the (uncapped) charge for waste services being separate to the general rate charge?
    It is a user pays system on a recovery of costs basis.
  29. What is important for you about township boundaries and character within the shire?
    Town boundaries should remain in place.
  30. What is your feeling about the condition of council owned roads and footpaths and bike paths?
    More funding is needed and there are still improvements to be made.
  31. What are your views on the level of importance of art, culture, and indigenous recognition in the Council framework?
    As the Chair of the Arts & Cultural Advisory Committee, I am a big supporter. I have total respect for our Indigenous community members and the Arts.
  32. Statistically, one in four Bass Coast Residences has a dog. How do you feel about existing restrictions in place? What, if anything would you change?
    I agree with the current Animal Management Plan.
  33. What would you like to see BCSC do to address Climate Change?
    Coastal Erosion.
  34. How do you rank the importance of tourism against local amenity?
    It’s a balance that needs to be right. I respect the tourism business community, they offer local employment opportunities. They need support from Council’s economic development team and I would be interested in any business associations that have innovative and entrepreneurial ideas for economic growth which is important to the region.

Questions 35 thru 88 are ALL community questions exactly as we received them.
Candidates were given the option to reply to as many or as few as they wished.
(Questions 16 – 34 above were collated from these)

  1. What topics or subjects do you consider very important for the Councillor Induction Training workshop?
    That Councillors gain an understanding of the time commitment. The impacts on family time, the commitment to the community and the financial and legal responsibilities.
  2. Do you live in the ward to which you seek to be elected?
    Yes – Corinella in the Western Port Ward.
  3. I would like to know what you are standing for
    I am standing to work for the improvement of Council’s governance and accountability. I
    believe good financial management is critical in order to deliver quality services to the
    community. I offer strong leadership and I am committed to a transparent Council.
  4. I would like to know who will stand up for the local people of this area
    I have and will continue to represent the community’s views in Council and for individuals
    who have raised their personal concerns with me. I have demonstrated in my time on Council that having strong advocacy for the community is important.
  5. On what matters are you standing for council?
    I will continue to actively lobby all levels of Government so Bass Coast residents receive
    infrastructure and road grants, major projects and environmental/coastal protection
    undertakings that we deserve. We need projects that are ‘shovel ready’ so when funding
    becomes available we are in the position to apply e.g. Aquatic Centres for Phillip Island and
    Wonthaggi; and pathways.
  6. What is your number 1 priority for the council?
    Council efficiency.
  7. Are you now, or have you ever been, affiliated to a political party? If so, which one?
    No, I stood as an Independent Candidate at the 2014 and 2018 State Elections as I believe we deserve to be represented by all levels of Government without political affiliations.
  8. Will your loyally be to the Ratepayers first and foremost as it is the Ratepayers who will be
    voting for you to represent them?
    Yes, that is why I am re-standing.
  9. Given the current inadequate four days notice for publication of the detail of items for decision at council meetings, would you vote to extend this to one week extra (as per the previous council)?
    Yes, I would consider it if the timing of the reports and agenda preparation was manageable.
  10. How will you focus on building community engagement?
    Continue with community meetings, newsletters and updates on issues.
  11. If elected, will you work closely with the various Ratepayers and Residents associations,
    including attending their meetings (face-to-face or online)?
    Yes, I have always in my 8 years of service made myself available.
  12. What capability and experience do you have to manage the CEO in order to bring improved
    transparency, financial discipline, and genuine community engagement to Bass Coast Shire?
    These are addressed in the CEO’s Review and by the Audit Committee.
  13. Will you support all council meetings being fully open to all ratepayers and video cast all council meetings?
    Yes, other than confidential or contractual items.
  14. Will you support the continuance of live streaming of Council Meetings?
    Yes, but there should be text captions and any other disability sector requirements added.
  15. Being an Elder of the LGBTIQ community – what do you intend to do to you show your support to us [reminding everyone that we make up approx 15% of the community?
    The LGBTQI community should be consulted and respected in all policies and in all services
    and networks. Access and inclusion is needed for all and on Council I would ensure that the
    sector are shown support. We must continue to develop protocols and develop strong
    foundations of respect and understanding for all in our community.
  16. Are you prepared to join in with and work with a local LGBTIQ group and help suggest and work through ideas and processes?
  17. How will you demonstrate transparency in your decisions and spending of rate payers’ money?
    Openly and honestly.
  18. What measures would you put in place to ensure transparency to the ratepayers of council
    Continue to strengthen community engagement and consultation.
  19. Will you take action to review the Governance Rules Policy before mid term of your councillor period and set a review period of 4 years and seek public comment?
    Yes as part of an annual review of all policies.
  20. Will you truly promote and conduct an open and honest council
  21. What is your measure of Performance for the CEO and Mayor of council at this time?
    The CEO’s performance is measured by the CEO Employment Matters Committee and the
    Mayor’s position is an elected position by the sitting Councillors.
  22. Do you support maximum CPI increase in rates each year, including waste charges?
    I believe in the rate cap for rates and cost recovery for waste charges.
  23. The Strategic Resource Financial Plan and the Budget are extremely important to Ratepayers and the operations of Council. What concerns have you with the current finances of council?
    Keeping rates affordable and delivering excellent services is my priority.
  24. What steps and actions will you take to ensure Councils Capital Works Projects listed in the
    budget are achieved during the budget year and is councils Investments in the best interest of ratepayers?
    I would lobby for projects to be included on the Capital Works List and that they get costed
    and prioritised against the budget.
  25. Are there any plans to extend the cycle path networks in the Bass Coast area?
    The aspirational Pathway Plan has a list of identified pathways and this is reviewed annually. There are many gaps identified and more funding is required. Council needs to be shovel ready for grant opportunities.
  26. Do you believe that P.I is getting a fair share of council services
    We can always work together to receive more.
  27. Do you support all Phillip Island beaches being dog friendly, on lead, all year round, and the 3 off lead beaches being off lead all year round?
    I agree with the current policy.
  28. Do you support giving responsible dog owners more opportunities to walk their on-leash dogs on Bass Coast beaches? Do you support having designated off-leash beach areas in each locality?
    I agree with the current policy.
  29. Do you support the duplication of the bridge from San Remo?
    A solution needs to be achieved and as a Ward Councillor I will continue to work with
    Regional Roads Victoria to build in the community’s expectations.
  30. Do you support the introduction of more off-lead beaches on the island?
    I support the current policy. There are designated off-leash beach areas and appropriate
    locations for off-lead beach runs. Offering residents enclosed dog park areas is also a good
    idea. It is important that wildlife areas are protected and I support dogs being off leads in well signposted designated areas.
  31. Is there a focus on improving art & culture and indigenous recognition?
    Yes, I am the current Chair of the Arts & Cultural Advisory Committee and we are blessed with many talented people across Bass Coast. Indigenous culture recognition and respect should be included in all aspects of Council.
  32. Question: Will you assist Phillip Island residents and business owners by doing everything you can to ensure there is an appropriate increase in rubbish collection (both red and yellow bins) during peak holiday seasons?
    Preamble: Phillip Island has an unacceptable problem with excessive rubbish during major
    tourist season as a small red bin, and large yellow bin pickup once/fortnight is far less than
    required for such an increase in population with excess rubbish demands during the festive
    season. Please note, this will not increase the amount of rubbish collected, it will just save
    residents trying to store rubbish or being required to pick up rubbish dumped around the island.
    The Waste Management Strategy needs to meet the needs of the community and businesses. Phillip Island has a better and more appropriate waste transfer facility coming. Phillip Island streetscape and surrounds need to be presented in a clean and vibrant way.
  33. What emphasis will be put on maintaining the roads in the council? In particular the streets in residential towns?
    Every community deserves to be heard in relation to their roads. I would strongly advocate
    for the community’s vision.
  34. What is your policy regarding dogs and dog friendly areas, especially relating to beaches?
    I agree with the current policy.
  35. Why have you been against some of the developments that have been put forward, namely the United service station in Inverloch which would have without question resulted in cheaper fuel which would have ultimately been of benefit to the large number of retirees in the area?
    All applications are considered on their merits.
  36. Would you support adding more / adding to playground areas?
  37. Do you believe that Business is getting full support of council
    We need to support and promote all businesses in Bass Coast.
  38. How do you propose that Council promotes community connections to facilitate the interaction of individuals and groups and to provide role models for healthy, active, and positive living?
    By supporting and funding them, we have some amazing community groups.
  39. How should Council support programs to counsel the community in general and individuals on mental health problems and the abuse of drugs and alcohol?
    Continue to advocate for support services and programs locally that meet the needs of the
  40. What would be your attitude to the coordinated development of the arts (particularly music, art, and dance), in the Shire?
    We have many talented arts people, I’m a supporter of a diverse range of arts and cultural
    activities in Bass Coast.
  41. What do you propose to do about the erosion along Silverleaves foreshore area?
    To continue to lobby for more funding.
  42. What will you do to reduce carbon emissions in Bass Coast?
    Continue to support the Climate Emergency Plan and principles.
  43. Will you support (or possibly increase) the current council targets and community aspirations for greenhouse gas emission reductions?
    Yes and gather further community support across Bass Coast.
  44. What are the principles that guide you to ensure that the environment of Phillip Island and the entire Bass Coast Shire is adequately protected from industrial and residential development?
    Maintaining town boundaries and the protection of Western Port Bay from industrialisation.
  45. The Albert Ruttle wetlands is a 22 acre community reserve in Inverloch, which has been enjoyed by residents for more than 25 years. Via a planning loophole it is now in private ownership as two housing blocks. What action would you take to ensure the council applies the development plan overlay and returns this unique wetland to the community as a public reserve?
    Unfortunately this is private land and to change that Council would be required to have
    ownership to make it a public reserve. Acquisitions need to be considered in the budget.
  46. What is your priority on protecting local ratepayers’ and residents’ rights first and tourism
    I am committed to the revitalising of our tourism and business sectors after the COVID
    lockdown because it is important to create economic and employment opportunities across Bass Coast. There are difficulties being faced for small business owners who rely on tourism however there needs to be a balanced approach as many locals are employed as a result of tourism and many local business owners dependent on tourism. The right balance is needed.
  47. Will you ensure local By-Laws are applied to tourists in the same way they are applied to local residents?
  48. Will you promote infrastructure needs e.g. footpaths etc. ahead of infrastructure for tourism?
    I would continue to advocate to receive the funding the region needs for major projects and infrastructure to meet the needs of residents.
  49. What is your vision for Tourism development?
    Bass Coast is a great place to live and visit. Tourism is a vital aspect of the region which
    supports its local businesses, locals who rely on the economic value of tourism including
    providing local employment. However, it’s a balancing act between economic success and
    environmental protection, enhancement and maintaining Bass Coast’s way of life. I would
    strongly advocate for the needs of residents and work towards a shared vision.
  50. How will you reduce increasing urbanisation on Phillip Island?
    Maintaining town boundaries is crucial to stop the urban sprawl and additionally we could
    amend the Planning Scheme to enforce larger minimum block sizes.
  51. What is your view on the density of housing development on Phillip Island?
    I am against the small block sizes that are allowed in the Planning Scheme. This should be
    reviewed. High density housing is not in keeping with our rural lifestyle.
  52. Do you agree that the proposed development at 92 Norsemens Road Coronet Bay is
    inappropriate in scale for the location and does not meet the requirements of land titled Rural
    Activity Zone?
    This application has been withdrawn.
  53. Given the more than adequate supply of residential land within the shire, will you hold the town boundaries where they are (or reduce them where they are inappropriate)?
    Council has a requirement to have 15 years of residential land available within its urban
    areas. I’m satisfied that the current town boundaries meet that need.
  54. Will you fight and oppose foreign takeovers of land and environmentally damaging
    Yes. It is an issue and it is a policy position of the elected Federal Government in power.
    With regards to the environment I do not any environmental damage.
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