Tran­si­tion man­ager de­lay

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - An­gelique Pat­ter­son

A TRAN­SI­TION man­ager for the new Dou­glas Shire Coun­cil will not start un­til at least the start of April.

The role of the tran­si­tion man­ager will be to im­ple­ment reg­u­la­tions to safe­guard both the ex­ist­ing and new coun­cils.

Dou­glas res­i­dents voted to dea­mal­ga­mate from Cairns Re­gional Coun­cil at last Satur­day’s ref­er­en­dum and now the re­gion will have to wait un­til a tran­si­tion man­ager is ap­pointed be­fore the process can be­gin.

Lo­cal Government Min­is­ter David Crisa­fulli said ap­pli­ca­tions were called yes­ter­day for the po­si­tion, which will de­velop the struc­ture and me­chan­ics of the new coun­cil ready for op­er­a­tion on Jan­uary 1, 2014.

‘‘I want that per­son to be some- one who doesn’t have con­nec­tions with CRC, I think that’s im­por­tant, like­wise they shouldn’t be some­one from the pro­po­nents, some­one who un­der­stand fi­nance and lo­cal government,’’ he said.

‘‘ As far as the amal­ga­mated coun­cil is con­cerned it’s busi­ness as usual for the bal­ance of the year, they have to op­er­ate and pro­vide a ser­vice and your coun­cil­lor will con­tinue to rep­re­sent your area.

‘‘I hope for the av­er­age ratepayer that all the ser­vices they get at the moment, the bins, li­braries and pot holes be­ing filled, will be busi­ness as usual un­til Jan­uary when their own coun­cil be­gins.’’

Min­is­ter Crisa­fulli dis­missed con­cerns the tran­si­tion man­ager not start­ing un­til next month would give Cairns a head­start in the carve-up of coun­cil as­sets and bud­get de­ci­sions.

‘‘Pro­cesses will be put in place to safe­guard the in­ter­ests of both the new coun­cil and ex­ist­ing re­gional coun­cil,’’ Min­is­ter Crisa­fulli said.

‘‘Those pro­cesses will be out­lined in changes to the Lo­cal Government Reg­u­la­tions, which will be re­leased in early April.’’

Part of th­ese reg­u­la­tions will in­clude tran­si­tionary pro­vi­sions, sim­i­lar to what the former Dou­glas Shire Coun­cil had, in­clud­ing pro­hibit­ing ma­jor pol­icy de­ci­sions un­less min­is­te­rial ap­proval was granted.

The tran­si­tion man­ager will be hir­ing staff for the new coun­cil, with flex­i­bil­ity for the new coun­cil to hire more, and a tran­si­tion com­mit­tee will be formed.

Un­til th­ese reg­u­la­tions are in place, Di­vi­sion 10 Coun­cil­lor Ju­lia Leu said she will be work­ing to keep both pro­cesses trans­par­ent - the for­ma­tion of the new coun­cil and up­com­ing bud­get process of CRC.

‘‘I will be watch­ing to make sure that is­sues and items to do with Dou­glas are treated in the same man­ner as if we were not dea­mal­ga­mat­ing,’’ she said.

‘‘It is also crit­i­cal that we get a fair deal in the up­com­ing CRC bud­get as we are still paying our fair share of rates, fees and charges un­til the end of the year.’’

Cr Leu said she wel­comes an in­de­pen­dent tran­si­tion man­ager who will be im­par­tial dur­ing the process of split­ting the as­sets and li­a­bil­i­ties of CRC.

‘‘ The process must be open, trans­par­ent and fair so ev­ery­one can have full trust in the out­come, as well as min­imis­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of any lin­ger­ing an­i­mos­ity be­tween the coun­cils and their com­mu­ni­ties,’’ she said.

Pic­ture: AN­THONY CA­POGRECO

WHATS YOUR VOTE: yes from Robert White (above) and no from Bill Phillips Turner (be­low)

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