Geelong council candidates respond to community questions

The Candidate Survey results are in!

After many hours of work by our team of volunteers we have synthesized the results from the Council election candidates who kindly responded to our survey.

We’ve done our best to make this informative yet not too long so that you can make an informed decision about who to vote for.

See how the candidates reponded in your ward:

At election time, there are so many scorecards and interest groups coming out to spoon feed you and tell you who to vote for. We hope our survey will empower you to make up your own mind.

Do the candidates share our community’s concerns?
We have asked the candidates key questions based on the priorities from the Geelong Community Survey to show whether they share our concerns and will take meaningful action to address them.

It’s encouraging that a vast majority of candidates are indicating they will act on these key issues.

We recommend reading the full responses
Please take 10 minutes and honour the effort that has gone into this work and the candidates who have decided to step up and participate in the democratic process by taking the time to read the full candidates’ responses. You will get a much better picture of candidates by reading the full report than an abbreviated summary, (which we aim to release later this week.)

Make sure you enlarge the documents if you find the type too small to read, use the slide bar on the bottom right of your screen to do this.

Ask yourself
Some things you may like to ask yourself as you read these responses :

Are they capable of making strategic decisions?
Are their concerns and values aligned with mine?
Are their priorities consistent across responses to show they truly understand an issue? Are they interested in improving communication with residents so that we understand better what Geelong Council is doing? 
For those who have been Councillors before, were their actions when they were in office in line with their responses now?

Only you can answer that by researching the candidates properly before you vote. 

Over to us
It’s over to us now in our role as citizens. Our job does not stop once we have voted. We have many examples of what happens to democracies when their citizens are not engaged.

Let’s play our part by participating and then holding them to these positions if they are elected.

Questionnaire sent to election candidates

Today we sent an email to the 37 registered candidates in the Geelong wards with the following request:

CoGG Council Elections 2020 – Candidate Survey – Invitation

Dear Geelong Council Candidate,
On behalf of the community, we wish to thank you for nominating as a candidate in the upcoming City of Greater Geelong (CoGG) 2020 council elections. We appreciate your considerable personal contribution to our democracy.  

As a nominated candidate we invite you to take the Candidate Survey, which has been organised by the group who led the Geelong Community Survey in collaboration with Geelong Sustainability. Both groups are non political and fully committed to the Geelong region, good governance and active citizenship. We have initiated this survey to assist voters to make an informed choice. 

  • This Candidate Survey seeks to ascertain the views, aspirations and priorities of candidates standing in the upcoming local government election. 
  • All candidates nominating to become a councillor of the City of Greater Geelong will be invited to complete this survey by 5pm on 29nd September. 
  • The online survey should take less than 10 minutes to complete. 
  • The themes for the questions are derived from the 559 responses to the Geelong Community Survey where key community concerns were identified as climate change, the environment, transport, infrastructure and waste.
  • To enable objective comparative analysis, most questions are multiple choice or ranking questions with a few open questions so candidates can outline their key ideas.
  • Survey responses received by the closing date will be collated into an objective independent scorecard for each Council Ward: Bellarine, Brownbill, Kardinia and Windermere.
  • The 4 Candidate Scorecards will be published and circulated widely via numerous websites, mailing lists and social media.
  • We recommend candidates read the Geelong Community Survey report before completing this survey.    

We encourage you to complete the survey so we can share your views and aspirations with the community. 

Best wishes for your campaign! 


Vicki & Sanja

Sanja Van Huet, Co-convenor

Geelong Community Survey

Report: Geelong Community Survey 2020

Download the report – 33 pages, PDF
Raw survey results – 192 pages

Full interpretive report – 21 pages
Summary of quantative and qualitative data and comments – 90 pages

Results from the Geelong Community Survey show that most responders don’t consider the municipality’s Clever and Creative Vision effectively addressed since it was produced in 2016-2017.

The results show general dissatisfaction in the progress of many aspects of the Vision.

In the areas of environment, transport and infrastructure and waste community sentiment is clearly negative.

Across the areas of environment, transport and infrastructure, and waste, community sentiment was clearly negative with two thirds − 67% averaged − of respondents unhappy with the Council’s progress. This is illustrated by:

  • 83% of respondents are concerned or very concerned about climate change predictions for our region, and about the predicted impacts for our region − flooding due to sea-levels, reduced rainfall, increased risk of bushfire and extreme weather.
  • Just one in ten people (9%) feel that the City of Greater Geelong is addressing Climate Change effectively at the local level with 81% stating that the City of Greater Geelong should do more to help households, businesses and our region to reduce carbon emissions.
  • Around 7 out of 10 responders (72%) are concerned about the environment’s capacity to cope with current population growth and
  • 67% of respondents don’t believe local services and infrastructure are coping with the population growth rate.
  • 66% believe public transport needs improvements within and beyond Geelong and 78% feel that walking and cycling − active transport − needs to be improved around Geelong and the Bellarine.

Across other areas identified in the Clever and Creative vision report, such as culture, lifestyle, business and Council governance, approximately half of residents said that they didn’t know if progress had occurred.

Of the nine community aspirations outlined in the Clever and Creative Vision, respondents ranked the following three most highly:

  • ‘Sustainable development that supports population growth and protects the natural environment’
  • ‘An inclusive, diverse, healthy and socially connected community’
  • ‘Development and implementation of sustainable solutions’

Overall, survey results strongly indicate that candidates in the upcoming local government elections need to comprehensively address issues relating to environment, transport, infrastructure and waste − both in their election platforms and if elected in the next Council Plan − and also continue to work on the other areas in the Vision.

Suggested action

These issues of greatest community concern need addressing, as there is widespread dissatisfaction with progress and decisions being made by Council in these areas.

In areas such as culture, lifestyle, business and Council governance, 50% of residents have reported that they don’t know if progress is being made on the Clever and Creative Vision in these areas.

Don’t know responses were registered for all questions. Most Don’t know commenters implied a lack of available information to enable making a judgement.

Council needs to find more opportunities to actively engage with all communities about the Clever and Creative Vision and effectively publicise progress to residents in the municipality with transparent and easily accessible information.

Article in Geelong Advertiser: “Residents, you can have a say”

This clipping is from the 20 August 2020 issue of The Geelong Advertiser Digital Edition. To subscribe, visit


Geelong Advertiser – Thursday 20 Aug 2020 – Page 11

Ratepayers are being urged to make their voices heard before the City of Greater Geelong council elections by completing a survey to guide candidates on what the community wants from their representatives.

About 500 people have completed the 25-question Geelong community survey, with responses still being accepted until Saturday, August

One of the survey organisers, Sanja Van Huet, said the group was hoping to hear more from residents in the municipality’s northern suburbs; and the youth, who were so far underrepresented in the survey.

“Having your say and your voice heard is an important part of participating in democracy ,” Ms Van Huet said.

“I hope more people from across Geelong will have their say, especially young people and people living in the northern suburbs of Geelong.”

Ms Van Huet said the results of the survey would be summarised and shared with all respondents and candidates for the council elections, which are scheduled for October.

“We hope the information will help the next councillors to understand and represent community views on issues, and that candidates will be scrutinised according to their responses to the issues identified by this survey,” Ms Van Huet said.

The survey was launched by “a group of locals who love the Geelong region and are passionate about nurturing our local democracy” , who claim to have no affiliations with any council election candidates.

For more information, or to take part in the survey, visit

Survey discloses community’s hopes for municipality’s next Council


With close to 400 responses so far, and with extensive comments being made, the Geelong Community Survey has had a strong kick-off. The survey closes on Saturday 22 August.

  • Survey will inform Council candidates about the community’s opinion
  • Youth and northern suburbs are underrepresented so far
  • Survey report expected to become an election hot topic

The survey results are already providing strong messages and valuable data for candidates running for the upcoming Council elections about the community’s priorities.

The questions and answers relate to the priorities of the Clever and Creative 30-year vision for Geelong Region, and they seek to measure the community’s level of satisfaction – or frustration – with the progress Council is making on the vision.

Ocean Grove and Bellarine residents stand out as the municipality’s “hot spot” engagement area so far, showing in numbers and comments their passion about Local Government issues.

“We need the community’s help to get more responses from the northern suburbs of Geelong, and from the youth,” said survey spokesperson and co-initiator Sanja Van Huet: “We really would like to hear their voices to ensure the survey is representative of the entire City of Greater Geelong residents. We can see that young people under the age of 35 have different views from older age groups on a range of issues thus far, but we need more responses from this age group to be sure this is significant.”

Broad endorsements
The survey has been endorsed by eight local organisations: ADAC, Australian Parents for Climate Action Geelong & Bellarine, Barwon Heads Association, Geelong Environment Council, Geelong Sustainability, Humans in Geelong, Ocean Grove Community Association, and Transition Streets Geelong.

“This general level of response is excellent given the impact of Covid-19 on our lives. It is much stronger than the responses Council receives to many of its ‘Have your Say’ community engagement processes. It shows the importance of community members engaging and encouraging their friends and neighbours to participate in our local democracy,” Sanja Van Huet said.

“Having your say and your voice heard is an important part of participating in democracy. I hope more people from across Geelong will have their say, especially young people and people living in the northern suburbs of Geelong.”

Questions to Council election candidates
The results of the survey will be summarised and shared with all respondents and candidates running for City of Greater Geelong elections in October.

“We hope the information will help the next councillors to understand and represent community views on issues, and that candidates will be scrutinised according to their responses to the issues identified by this survey,” Van Huet said.

Four-minute video interview
See video interview with Sanja Van Huet on

Interview opportunity

For interview and commenting: Contact us

Download survey map in high resolution

Deadline for taking the survey
The Geelong Community Survey closes on Saturday 22 August at midnight

Further info and background

Here is our plan

A group of locals have got together to help people in the Geelong and Bellarine to actively engage with their Councillors and have their voices heard.

As there is a Council election coming up in October we work to:

  • support people who would like to get engaged in the election process, our local democratic processes, and Council’s decision making in general 
  • communicate the views of the community to election candidates 
  • have the views of the community inform the decision making of the new elected Council

What we are planning to do over the next few months is a process of surveying the community about their views and then communicating the results to candidates and to elected Councillors during September 2020.

The plan is as follows:

1. Survey: As many people as we can about their views of Council’s activities – we have based the survey on the CoGG’s “Clever and Creative vision” which was developed by surveying 16,000 people and created an aspiration. 

We’re keen to support you to have your say, to bring together your views  about Geelong’s Clever and Creative vision, and to take them to our new council.

Here is the online survey so you can see the questions:

2. Collate the results of the survey and communicate these community views to respondents, to the media and, of course, to the candidates in the upcoming Council elections.

3. Interview the candidates for the Council election in August-September 2020 about their views and promises in relation to what the community want and create a scorecard profile of the candidates, which we will send to all respondents to the online survey. 

To truly express the community’s voice about our progress on a Clever and Creative vision we need a large and community wide spread of responses to the survey across all postcodes, ages and diversity of our region. So we are asking all the community associations to endorse and help get the survey our far and wide.

Do you know a community group which would be happy to endorse the survey process as follows? You can:

  1. Provide the name and logo to put on this web page – and
  2. Share the survey to its membership database and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.