Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Pollies Left out of Loop; Councillors Were Not Aware of Dam Plans

Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Pollies Left out of Loop; Councillors Were Not Aware of Dam Plans

Article excerpt

Byline: SHANNON NEWLEY

THE draining of Wallangarra's Beehive Dam without public consultation has been the last straw for Cr Cameron Gow with communications at an all time low between council administration, councillors and the community.

C[pounds sterling]That's brought the issue to a head for me,C[yen] Cr Gow said.

C[pounds sterling](The councillors) need to know what is going with any infrastructure that is going to be impacting the community.C[yen]

Cr Gow said it was the councillors, not council officers, who received phone calls from the public because of such work and it was important they at least had the heads up.

C[pounds sterling]We take back issues everyday to the officers to do with roads and other things and what seems to be happening is they are not coming back to us,C[yen] he said.

C[pounds sterling]In the early stages, even the staff were trying to work out what the exact role of a councillor is.C[yen]

He said while the role was mostly about policy and strategy, it was important for councillors to know when major works started.

C[pounds sterling]We have councillor training every six or 12 months either from a state department or the CMC or the Local Government Association of Queensland and they constantly remind us of what our role is,C[yen] he said.

C[pounds sterling]But none of them seem to address communication with council officers.

C[pounds sterling]They don't seem to accept that we are at the most grass roots level of government and we are the most answerable to the public.C[yen]

Cr Gow said he thought it was a C[pounds sterling]symptom of the amalgamationC[yen] because there were only half the councillors doing the same amount of work.

He said he hadn't spoken to the other councillors about the issue.

He said he would bring it up at the next general council meeting this month.

Cr Ross Bartley said he also expected the issue to be raised at the next meeting and the Beehive Dam incident wasn't the first time the councillors and the community had not been given the heads up on controversial work within the region.

C[pounds sterling]Personally I think it's a courtesy (to inform councillors and the public) that particular works are being carried out,C[yen] he said. …

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