Archive:  Macedon Ranges' Shire Brand & Website

Last Updated  25/3/14


Council Spends OUR Money Changing OUR Website Then Tells Us About It After The Fact

(23/4/13-RA-C)  Official records removed, Shire logo and website content changed: was there any point at which Council thought the community should be consulted?

Seen Council's new orangey-yellowy-browny website?  The one which links Macedon Ranges to the Fast Train instead of Hanging Rock, and has what some people are interpreting as carrots, rocks, or even dog droppings for the Shire's new 'logo' [sorry, 'brand'].


All Council meeting agendas and minutes from 2003 - 2010 (inclusive) and agenda attachments have been deleted without notice, and only records from 2011 onwards remain.  It won't surprise if other documents which belong in the public realm - such as council policies, reports, studies - have also gone missing, or are almost impossible to find.


While it's not clear who made these decisions, what many suspected is finally officially confirmed (new website says so): officers make most of the decisions, under delegation, because not much would get done if councillors made the decisions:


"Elected Council

Our Council is a legal entity composed of its members. It can only act in one of two ways: by resolution at a Council meeting, or through Council officers acting on its behalf.

Most Council decisions are not made at Council meetings.  Effective functioning of local government would not be possible if they were. Instead, most decision-making is supported by formal delegations."


Unfortunately, costs for changes don't stop with the new website and logo.  All Council 'livery' (e.g. signs, nametags, letterheads, etc.) also have to be changed, and just in case we couldn't pick out Council vehicles, they not only get a new 'logo' but also carrots/rocks/droppings all over the back of them. 


MRRA Says:

Council seems to have mistakenly thought the Shire's website is its personal property.  It's not - it belongs to the ratepayers.


No problem in principle with improving website performance, but this is MAJOR and FUNDAMENTAL change in formatting, content and philosophy.  It changes what Macedon Ranges stands for, and how it represents itself to the world.  It has been changed at the community's expense but without consulting the community.  We hope rumours that these changes were deliberately kept confidential aren't true because then we would need to look up the definition of 'democracy', to see if it changed overnight.


Complaints about the new website include not being able to find things (some give up), to it being impossible to read to the end of documents.  The site also seems a bit 'touchy' and can crash if asked to do something like... open a document or page.  Some wish it didn't read quite so much like a real estate ad, and there are thousands of links on Google to pages that no longer exist on Council's website (might have been more professional to use redirect pages).


Removing a decade's worth of official Council meeting records is disgraceful, and even worse because (a) no-one was told this was happening and (b) residents now have to ask Council if they can access these (bound) records, and there is a cost for getting copies of them.  This loss of access to historical records adds to the still unexplained 'loss' of over 10 years of planning permit application records which disappeared overnight when Council switched from Greenlight to the almost useless SPEAR program. 


It all creates an image of a Council with something to hide. Come on guys, surely Council isn't so afraid of being open and accountable for what it does that it wants to hide the records?  Both council meeting and planning records need to be put back on the website, in the public realm, ASAP.


As for officer delegations, many in the community are looking to the Shire's new Council[lors] to rein in excessive delegations (not least the CEO's delegated authority to award contracts up to $1 million without consulting Council).  The way these have operated has fallen well short of acceptable transparency and accountability standards, and has seen major change - often contrary to community wishes and values - without consulting Council or the community. Reducing and restricting delegations is long overdue.


Tell us your thoughts on Council's website:,  Does it work?  Can you find what you are looking for?  Should the community have been consulted before making changes and spending rates?