MINISTER SENDS CLEAR MESSAGE TO COUNCIL
“GET on with it. You don’t have to be best friends, you don’t have to play in the sand pit together, but you do have to govern for the region.”
This was the message Local Government Minister David Crisafulli delivered to all of Whitsunday Regional Council during a visit to Bowen on Tuesday.
Mr Crisafulli promised he would come to the region after deputy mayor Andrew Willcox and councillors Dave Clark and Peter Ramage travelled to Brisbane to meet with him last week.
The three councillors all walked out of the previous ordinary Council meeting after it was chaired by Cr Jan Clifford in the mayor’s absence, instead of the deputy mayor.
After giving them an ear in Brisbane, Mr Crisafulli described the discussion at Tuesday’s Bowen meeting as “robust”.
“Some feathers flew and some fur went missing but it needed to happen,” he said.
“We’ve seen what’s gone on and it’s been a circus – it’s been a soap opera [and] no-one wants to see that anymore.”
During the meeting, Mr Crisafulli delivered some “tough love” saying both sides had been at fault. He said he didn’t believe that people needed to storm out of a meeting to gain access to the government, but he also stood firm on his opinion that the mayor’s delegation was wrong.
Mr Crisafulli said he left Council with some strategies, tools and advice and he did not believe the ap- pointment of an administrator was necessary.
“I don’t expect them all to sit around the table, hold hands, drink herbal tea and pray for better times. I want them to challenge each other and I want them to be engaging in robust debate but I want them to act like grown-ups,” he said.
“I don’t want to come back in a few months and have to do it all over again. This is it. This is the one roll of the dice. This is the opportunity for this group of elected officials to govern for the region and to sell a vision.”
Mayor Jennifer Whitney said this was a good meeting where some “hard truths” were told.
Deputy mayor Andrew Willcox also agreed “we need to put our personal differences aside”.
Council’s ordinary meeting yesterday, was civilised and cordial. Cr Whitney told the media, Council would continue to work on “actively delivering the marriage”.
HELPFUL ADVICE: Local Government Minister David Crisafulli speaking with Deputy Mayor Andrew Willcox in Bowen on Tuesday.
UNITED FRONT: Whitsunday Regional Councillors Peter Ramage, Dave Clark, Andrew Willcox, John Collins (back) and Jan Clifford (front right) with Burdekin MP Rosemary Menkins (front left) and Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan (back right), and mayor Jennifer Whitney and Local Government Minister David Crisafulli. The minister came to Bowen to meet with all of Council on Tuesday and was supported by the local MP's.