Pub­lic meet­ings to hold Coun­cil to ac­count

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Sharon Small­wood

THE Bowen-based Whit­sun­day Re­gional Res­i­dents As­so­ci­a­tion (WRRA) has called a se­ries of pub­lic meet­ings to dis­cuss Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil’s per­for­mance.

WRRA pres­i­dent Ross Newell said the as­so­ci­a­tion’s re­cently launched pe­ti­tion, call­ing for an ad­min­is­tra­tor to be ap­pointed to Coun­cil, had re­ceived an ex­cep­tional level of com­mu­nity sup­port and would con­tinue to run for some time yet.

He said Coun­cil’s fi­nan­cial ac­count­abil­ity con­tin­ued to be ques­tioned, with the WRRA re­peat­ing its calls for Coun­cil to rene­go­ti­ate the Queens­land Trea­sury loans and lose the re­cently im­posed levy.

Mr Newell also said his as­so­ci­a­tion felt the mayor’s “blame game” had reached an un­prece­dented low.

“The mo­tion by Coun­cil to in­ves­ti­gate le­gal ac­tion against those in­volved in the pro­duc­tion of the 20112012 au­dited fi­nan­cials, pre-empt­ing the out­come of the CMC in­ves­tiga- tion, is noth­ing short of far­ci­cal,” Mr Newell said.

“Mayor Whit­ney must have for­got­ten that she was part of that Coun­cil that ac­cepted these au­dited fi­nan­cials and that the Coun­cil’s au­dit com­mit­tee ap­proved these fi­nan­cials in the first place.”

How­ever, Whit­sun­day mayor Jen­nifer Whit­ney has re­mained stead­fast in her re­solve that those re­spon­si­ble for the fi­nan­cial woes of both Coun­cil and the com­mu­nity should def­i­nitely be held to ac­count.

“At the end of the day our com­mu­nity wants clo­sure... and even if we don’t re-coup the money they want to know who’s re­spon­si­ble and I think Coun­cil’s got a duty to try and pro­vide that in­for­ma­tion to them,” she said.

As for the pe­ti­tion, Cr Whit­ney ad­vised res­i­dents to think very care­fully be­fore sign­ing.

“And if it’s about bring­ing about ad­min­is­tra­tion, do a lit­tle bit of re­search and find out what that will mean to each and ev­ery­one,” she said.

Cr Whit­ney said Coun­cil had tried on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions to an­swer ques­tions posed by the WRRA. “But they will not let us,” she said. The WRRA’s first meet­ing will be held at Bowen’s McKenna Hall on Mon­day Fe­bru­ary 24 at 5.30pm, with fur­ther meet­ings planned for Proser­pine, Air­lie Beach and Collinsville, at dates, times and venues not yet an­nounced.

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