Isis Town and Country - - Opinion -

AF­TER lis­ten­ing to all the may­oral can­di­dates and the coun­cil­lor can­di­dates, one thing is cer­tain. The cur­rent coun­cil­lors and mayor have placed our coun­cil in a hideous fi­nan­cial po­si­tion. It has been stated as fact in the Bund­aberg NewsMail that our rates will have to rise a min­i­mum of 4.7% per an­num for the next four years, and this does not in­clude an­nual in­fla­tion. Let’s as­sume that in­fla­tion runs at 1.5% this then makes our in­crease a min­i­mum of 6.2% per an­num. This does not in­clude any in­crease in our ser­vices or the op­por­tu­nity to re­duce our debt. This has been en­forced on us by the cur­rent serv­ing coun­cil­lors and mayor. Any vote for any sit­ting coun­cil­lor is a re­ward for plac­ing our re­gional coun­cil in such a fi­nan­cial mess, and in­deed they will then have your sup­port for fur­ther mis­man­age­ment.

R Heale South Kolan

COUN­CIL­LORS are sup­posed to rep­re­sent the com­mu­nity and be open and ac­count­able. Ex­pert plan­ning of­fi­cers are em­ployed to in­ter­pret the Plan­ning Scheme, and the Plan­ning Act, and make rec­om­men­da­tions ac­cord­ingly. In the early days of the cur­rent coun­cil, there were a num­ber of oc­ca­sions when coun­cil­lors told the plan­ning of­fi­cer they did not agree with the rec­om­men­da­tions for re­fusal, and told them to come back with rea­sons for ap­proval. Coun­cil­lors were ad­vised that if they dis­agreed with the plan­ning of­fi­cer’s rec­om­men­da­tions, they would have to give rea­sons, which would then be recorded in the min­utes. Sub­se­quently, it ap­pears a de­ci­sion was made to have all dis­cus­sions and plan­ning de­ci­sions re­solved be­hind closed doors. The Bund­aberg branch of the UDIA have been priv­i­leged to meet and dis­cuss plan­ning is­sues with the coun­cil four times a year af­ter sign­ing an MOU in 2013. Min­utes of those meet­ings have not been made pub­lic. I find the com­ments made by their pres­i­dent (NM 5/03/16) about what makes a good coun­cil­lor very dis­turb­ing. The com­mu­nity needs to be aware of why and how de­ci­sions are made. This can only be achieved by open de­bate and trans­parency at meet­ings that are open to the pub­lic. Coun­cil­lors dis­cus­sions about plan­ning mat­ters which di­rectly af­fect mem­bers of the pub­lic should be in the pub­lic arena. I sin­cerely hope those who are elected on March 19 will make sure that coun­cil meet­ings are open and ac­count­able.

Pam Soper

Bar­gara I WAS sur­prised to read in the News Mail (March 4) that no ques­tions had been taken from the floor at the Childers May­oral Pub­lic Fo­rum from an at­ten­dance of 150. It would ap­pear the sim­mer­ing is­sues which fol­lowed coun­cil’s amal­ga­ma­tion have dis­ap­peared or are largely at bay. Ob­vi­ously Childers vot­ers have wel­comed all the ad­van­tages re­ceived from amal­ga­ma­tion with economies of scale to­gether with the upgrade and ex­ten­sion of coun­cil ser­vices. Con­grat­u­la­tions to all in Childers and the Bund­aberg Re­gional Coun­cil for work­ing to­gether and demon­strat­ing what can be achieved by a com­mu­nity that ex­er­cises good, com­pe­tent, and trust­wor­thy govern­ment. To­day the Childers spirit abounds as its fes­ti­val grows each year.

Ge­orge Bav­in­ton


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