Protest prompts change in pol­icy

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS - Shirley Way shirley.way@cnbtimes.com.au

A NEW com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion process for cap­i­tal works that cost $5000 or more has been ap­proved.

The move came af­ter an­gry Mt Perry res­i­dents protested the in­stal­la­tion of the new waste­water treat­ment plant on the only va­cant block in the town’s main street in Fe­bru­ary.

The coun­cil will spend up to 5% of each project’s bud­get on con­sul­ta­tion, which could be as var­ied as fly­ers and phone calls to af­fected house­holds or com­mu­nity fo­rums.

North Bur­nett Re­gional Coun­cil’s act­ing CEO David Wiskar said coun­cil­lors would have a role in com­mu­nity en­gage­ment for par­tic­u­lar projects.

“The aim is to pro­vide a bal­ance be­tween gain­ing good in­put from the com­mu­nity into the de­liv­ery of ma­jor projects and pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion to the public re­gard­ing the benefits of coun­cil projects,” he said.

Mt Perry Devel­op­ment As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Irene Duda said it might help other towns in the fu­ture.

“In so far as our town is con­cerned, it’s a bit late,” Ms Duda said.

“Con­sul­ta­tion should have been taken on board prior to (in­stal­la­tion of the) Mt Perry (sewage plant).”

Mr Wiskar said the coun­cil did a “rea­son­able job of con­sul­ta­tion most of the time”, and for­mal­is­ing the process was valu­able.

“By plac­ing a dollar fig­ure on con­sul­ta­tion, it makes the en­gi­neers think about it as a crit­i­cal part of de­liv­er­ing the project,” Mr Wiskar said.

“The re­main­ing (or un­spent) dol­lars would go back into the project.

“The new pol­icy would real­is­ti­cally start in the new fi­nan­cial year.”

David Wiskar By plac­ing a dollar fig­ure on con­sul­ta­tion, it makes the en­gi­neers think about it as a crit­i­cal part of de­liv­er­ing the project.

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