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Councillor Antonella Celi 

Seawinds Ward - Mornington Peninsula Shire

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Committee for Mornington Peninsula Candidate Questions

Posted by antonellaceli on October 10, 2020 at 1:55 AM


CfMP questions for Candidate for the

Mornington Peninsula Shire Elections 2020 


Candidates profile/ platform (maximum of 300 words)


Committed to serve the Mornington Peninsula Shire

I have nominated to stand for re-election as a Candidate for the Mornington Peninsula Shire elections to retain my seat for the Seawinds Ward which includes the townships of Safety Beach, Dromana, McCrae, Rosebud, Capel Sound, parts of Mt Martha and Red Hill.

As a Seawinds Ward Councillor for the past 10 years, it is a privilege to serve on Council to add my professional knowledge and experience to important decisions.

As a result, we have seen the achievement of many outcomes and delivery of local projects like the Aquatic Centre in Rosebud, upgrades to community buildings, sports reserves and support for many community groups.

With the impact of COVID-19 on our local community and economy, I am determined to continue my work to



  • advocate on issues
  • address the challenges
  • focus on opportunities and
  • seek Local, State and Federal government resources and funding to support our projects in Seawinds Ward and across the Peninsula.


Now is a time to act and instill hope for a positive future direction.

What do you see are the key issues facing the Mornington Peninsula and how do you envisage contributing to a resolution?

• Covid-19 community support and recovery

• Business and economic recovery due to Covid-19 impact

• Planning: Maintain 70/30 Green Wedge/Residential

• Environment: Protection from coastal erosion and conservation of significant RAMSAR Biosphere, Wetland and regions of high biodiversity values.

• Investigation of the classification of Mornington Peninsula to Regional Status

What skills/experience will you bring to your role as a Councillor that will benefit the Mornington Peninsula community?

An Independent candidate, Antonella has over ten years’ experience in Local Government, has graduated to receive a Diploma in Local Government for Elected Councillors and is a former Mayor of Mornington Peninsula Shire.

Antonella has held council-delegated positions to more than seven municipal committees and held positions of Chair of the Planning Services Committee; Municipal Health and Wellbeing Committee; the Positive Ageing Steering Committee; The Triple A Housing Policy Committee, the Arts & Culture Advisory Committee and the Peninsula Reads Literacy Committee.

A passionate advocate for the Mornington Peninsula, Antonella lends her voice to advocate on issues, represent opportunities, address challenges and seek state and federal government funding for the region.

As an active and engaged councillor, she works closely with local residents, community groups, State and Federal government as well as business organisations on projects of key importance to the Seawinds Ward and the broader Shire community.

What is your view on the Baxter Rail project that has a $225 million commitment from the federal government?

It’s an ambitious commitment, but yet to see real plans being actioned. I maintain my support for the Shire’sposition on the Baxter Rail Project being extended all the way through to Hastings for increased social and economic benefit to the residents and the Mornington Peninsula region. The Mornington Peninsula Shire needs to be more involved in this project along with the other stakeholders.

What will you do as a candidate to ensure that the Mornington Peninsula Shire honors its commitment to the State governments Small Business Friendly Program?

As an elected Councillor I will ensure that the Mornington Peninsula Shire maintains its commitment to the State Government’s Small Business Friendly program by:

• continuing to work closely with the Economic Development Unit and the Shire CEO to ensure that updates on the plans implementation and objectives are provided to Councillors through briefings and Council reports to the community.

• continue to build stakeholder relationships and open communication pathways with businesses on the Peninsula that also align with the SBFG

• work closer with Chamber of Commerce, industry and business leaders to develop communication plans and strategies going forward to meet the objectives of the Charter.

Do you believe the Mornington Peninsula is disadvantaged by being considered part of metropolitan Melbourne and not being able to access the same benefits as Geelong who are considered a regional council, and do you believe this should be a priority of a newly elected Mornington Peninsula Council?

This question requires a two-fold answer:

1. The impact by Covid-19 restrictions with the Shire classified as metro-Melbourne which has meant that wehave had to endure delays in business reopening and sustained economic loss over the many months since March.  Like Mitchell Shire was switched from metro-Melbourne into Regional under Directions then there should have been no reason for the same to happen with the Mornington Peninsula Shire. But the State refused to make the concession for a short term solution to minimize the impacts of Covid-19 restrictions. This advocacy has been an ongoing priority for the Shire under the context of Covid-19 restrictions which we have supported strongly.

2. In regards to instigating reform to classification from metro-Melbourne to Regional. I support a moredetailed investigation and research in what it means for the Mornington Peninsula to be reclassified andthe process that is involved to achieve it. This is an important piece of work that the Shire will need toundertake in consultation with stakeholders and the community to understand the complexity of such areform to the Region and how it will impact on our region i.e. the business community, residents,industry and also the impacts on the Planning Scheme Changes our Green Wedges.

I understand how not being classified as metro-Melbourne impacts primarily on the business sector on the Mornington Peninsula as well as funding grants and streams for various other sectors because we are not Regional. With the impact on business who do not receive the same benefits as Geelong could there beperhaps another way short term to advocate for tax reforms as well? A question to also explore.

The current Mornington Peninsula Council has recently taken an approach to enforcement that has seen a significant increase in prosecutions at VCAT and the Victorian Magistrates Court at great expense to ratepayers, and in relation to VCAT- very low success rates. If elected will you support this current approach to enforcement and if not how do you propose Council can create a more harmonious productive relationship with ratepayers?

This question is quite broad in its intent and application as compliance breaches across the Shire can be many and varied from planning through to permits and environment and health protection. Planning Policies for example can be revised by Council such as already been done with the recent Housing & Settlement Strategy and other Policies and Strategies that are within the remit of the Council. Compliance issues that arise from a breach of the Green Wedge Management Policy and State Planning around the Green Wedges are to be talked to on a case by case basis, remembering that when it comes to the Green Wedges and the State Planning Scheme it is not in the remit of Council to change the State Planning Scheme but it rests with the State Government.

Over the many years bureaucratic process may have created misunderstandings in the handling of enforcement matters and I know that as a Councillor a primary role is to try and clear up those misunderstandings for all parties concerned. Compliance issues are a two way street and unfortunately if they cannot be resolved they do end up at VCAT at great expense to all concerned.

The newly elected Council will have significant work to do in response to the COVID-19 recovery phase— what do you believe the best way the Council can assist the community and business?

The Council has been on the frontfoot assessing the Covid-19 situation and what is within its remit to provide to and for the community ratepayers and businesses. The Covid Recovery & Hardship Policy has seen support come to business through waivers and reduction in fees in particular for commercial leases on Council owned land. The Corona Virus Community Update Newsletter has provided up to date information on support and information available for business.

In the coming months the Shire will have a better profile of the fall out as a consequence of the first and second wave shutdowns and restrictions and the impact on our ratepayers and businesses alike. Responsiveness to need is key so that a meaningful outcome can be achieved for those who need assistance the most, as well as, reducing red tape and time delays wherever possible and practical. Council will need to consider and deliberate considerably on the next Budget cycle and determine the best way forward to support the community through Covid-19 to the other side. Advocacy for stimulus funding from State and Federal government for shovel ready projects is fundamental to also helping our community and business recover.

Why should ratepayers vote for you?

Ratepayers should vote for me because my experience of over 10 years on Council has shown that I can be proactive and responsive to getting things done for the community. You need someone on Council who knows how the processes works and is well intentioned to form good working relationship with the CEO, officers and Councillors. Understanding what the community wants and needs is important so that outcomes continue to be relevant and meaningful for those who live, work and enjoy our wonderful Mornington Peninsula.

If you are elected, what would you like your legacy to be at the end of your four year term?

That the Mornington Peninsula Shire continues to thrive and prosper beyond the Covid-19 setback and that as a community we work together to value, protect and enhance the characteristics and lifestyle that makes the Mornington Peninsula a very special place for us to live, work and enjoy recreation.

It's Our Peninsula. Our Way of Life.

Any final comments?

Thank you and keep up the great work Committee for Mornington Peninsula

Find out  more about the Candidate Responses here:


Categories: Election 2020 Candidate Alerts, Business