Fi­nal meet­ing, thanks for com­ing

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Liam Par­sons

THE un­happy mar­riage the Cairns and Dou­glas coun­cils were forced into five years ago looks set to end in an equally bit­ter di­vorce.

Cairns Re­gional Coun­cil’s fi­nal meet­ing held in Moss­man yes­ter­day was an oc­ca­sion­ally fiery af­fair, with tem­pers flar­ing over the fi­nal de­tails of the split.

Newly elected Dou­glas Shire mayor Ju­lia Leu ac­cused CRC chief ex­ec­u­tive Peter Tab­ulo of lump­ing the soonto-be-re­stored coun­cil with an un­fair fi­nan­cial bur­den by trans­fer­ring 31 staff from Cairns to Moss­man.

Un­der de-amal­ga­ma­tion guide­lines set down by the State Gov­ern­ment, Cairns can send be­tween 135 and 165 staff to Moss­man.

It is send­ing 145 staff and 18 va­cant and funded po­si­tions, tak­ing the to­tal amount of trans­ferred po­si­tions to 163.

Cr Leu asked her fel­low coun­cil­lors for their sup­port in in­struct­ing Mr Tab­ulo to re­tract the forced re­lo­ca­tions but was out­voted 7-2, with only Cr Rob Pyne back­ing her.

‘‘This is an act of sab­o­tage to un­der­mine the new coun­cil brought in at the eleventh hour,’’ she said.

‘‘This is a cruel act on the staff in­volved.’’

But Mr Tab­ulo main­tained he had acted ap­pro­pri­ately and within the leg­is­la­tion for de-amal­ga­mat­ing coun­cils.

In the coun­cil cham­bers, dea­mal­ga­ma­tion sup­port­ers had to be hushed sev­eral times. At one point Mayor Bob Man­ning threat­ened to ad­journ the meet­ing.

Two items on the agenda from within the Dou­glas Shire were also al­lowed to pro­ceed yes­ter­day, de­spite re­peated re­quests from Cr Leu to al­low the new coun­cil to con­sider them next year.

Cr Leu said the ap­pli­cants were at­tempt­ing to hurry through the ap­pli­ca­tions to avoid the scru­tiny of the Dou­glas Shire Coun­cil.

‘‘I feel at this late stage 36 days be­fore the new coun­cil comes into op­er­a­tion those par­tic­u­lar items should have been con­sid­ered by the new coun­cil,’’ she said.

Pic­ture: BREN­DAN FRAN­CIS

DE­BATE: Mayor elect Ju­lia Leu

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