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.
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.