Meet­ing aban­doned af­ter coun­cil­lors walk out

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE -

YES­TER­DAY’s Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil meet­ing in Bowen was aban­doned less than 10 min­utes af­ter it started af­ter Crs Dave Clark, Peter Ra­m­age and Andrew Will­cox all walked out.

Whit­sun­day mayor Jennifer Whit­ney was ab­sent from the meet­ing as she is on a week’s an­nual leave.

In her ab­sence, she del­e­gated to Cr Jan Clif­ford to chair the meet­ing – a func­tion that would nor­mally go to the deputy mayor.

A Coun­cil spokesper­son said Cr Whit­ney chose this course of ac­tion to “up-skill” Cr Clif­ford and take into ac­count the large num­ber of ci­ti­zen­ship cer­e­monies al­ready al­lo­cated to deputy mayor Andrew Will­cox.

Shortly af­ter the meet­ing was opened Cr Dave Clark moved a mo­tion to sus­pend stand­ing or­ders to al­low him to speak.

He then made a state­ment. “I will be tak­ing no fur­ther part in this meet­ing or any sub­se­quent or­di­nary meet­ing un­til such times as I se­cure a meet­ing with the Lo­cal Govern­ment Min­is­ter David Crisa­fulli to ex­plain ex­actly what is hap­pen­ing in Coun­cil. Fur­ther­more, I will [still] be rep­re­sent­ing my re­gion and divi- sion,” he said. Coun­cil­lors Peter Ra­m­age and Andrew Will­cox both made sim­i­lar state­ments be­fore get­ting up and walk­ing out.

With only Crs Clif­ford and John Collins left, there was no quo­rum and the meet­ing was ad­journed un­til April 9.

The Min­is­ter said yes­ter­day that he would be happy to see them.

“I’ll meet with ev­ery coun­cil­lor in this state – there’s rarely a day that goes by that I don’t meet with a Coun­cil or coun­cil­lors, but I’d give them some pretty frank ad­vice,” he said.

“They are there not to serve me as their min­is­ter, not to serve each other but to serve their com­mu­nity.

“What they need to do now is put their dif­fer­ences aside, work through their is­sues and deliver for their com­mu­nity.

“They’re not go­ing to solve their fi­nan­cial or in­fra­struc­ture chal­lenges by squab­bling among them­selves.”

Mr Crisa­fulli was also crit­i­cal of the mayor.

“Mayor Whit­ney has got this wrong. In her ab­sence, the deputy mayor should chair the meet­ing,” he said.

Mean­while, Cr Clif­ford said she was dis­ap­pointed the busi­ness of Coun­cil could not pro­ceed

“There was busi­ness be­fore Coun­cil which needed ad­dress­ing to­day and as the Chair I apol­o­gise for any in­con­ve­nience ex­pe­ri­enced by mem­bers of the com­mu­nity who had mat­ters be­fore Coun­cil which they wanted heard to­day,” she said.

Coun­cil’s CEO Scott Wa­ters said all other day-to-day func­tions of Coun­cil would pro­ceed as nor­mal. Cr Whit­ney will re­turn to work next week.

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