Fears of Sunbury stoush

Transition auditors reviewing Sunbury’s separation from Hume have been urged to ensure security guards are present at a public meeting later this month.

The call comes after the previous public meeting on the controversial subject led to fiery disputes between members of the public and a probe into the alleged misbehaviour of Sunbury-based councillors Jack Medcraft and Jack Ogilvie.

The pair, who fronted two investigations, have complained that they were “ambushed” by agitators waving placards at last September’s meeting at Broadmeadows Town Hall.

Cr Medcraft was later suspended for 28 days by a Municipal Association of Victoria panel for breaching the code of conduct. Cr Ogilvie was reprimanded.

Fellow councillor Ann Potter has also said that people sought to intimidate her at the heated meeting.

Cr Medcraft last week said a strong security presence was needed to prevent a repeat of what happened last year.

“I am concerned things could get out of hand,” he said.

“I just hope it doesn’t turn into an event where people are targeted because their views are different from that of others.’’

Sunbury Residents Association president Bernie O’Farrell said the auditors should at least consider security requirements ahead of the meeting in Sunbury on July 24.

“Based on previous meetings we’ve had in Sunbury, there’s never been a problem, but given what occurred a few months ago, you’ve perhaps got to take that into account.”

Sunbury Community Progress Association president Alison Cunningham said she did not believe security would be required.

“We’re all adults, aren’t we?,” Ms Cunningham said.

In a statement, transition auditors John Watson and Frank Vincent said they did not expect a security or police presence would be needed.

‘‘We look forward to having a productive and respectful information session that will need no intervention by security or police.’’

The auditors said they were looking forward to hearing the views of residents and ratepayers.

They said they want to give people the chance to have their say “in a manner respectful to all participants”.

“We will present an overview of the information we have released to the community and will answer questions from the audience,” the joint statement read.

“An independent facilitator will be appointed to guide proceedings.”

The meeting is at Sunbury Memorial Hall from 7pm on July 24.