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Council scraps old ways

Cr Ian Petersen, Cr Rae Gate, Cr Wayne Sachs, Cr Tony Perrett, Mayor Ron Dyne, Cr Mick Curran, Cr Mark McDonald, Cr Julie Walker and Cr Larry Friske.
Cr Ian Petersen, Cr Rae Gate, Cr Wayne Sachs, Cr Tony Perrett, Mayor Ron Dyne, Cr Mick Curran, Cr Mark McDonald, Cr Julie Walker and Cr Larry Friske. Craig Warhurst

THE old committee system that kept countless council debates behind closed doors has been scrapped in Gympie, paving the way for an era of more open and accountable local government.

Gympie voters have been promised a more transparent Gympie Regional Council and that is hopefully what they will get with a new portfolio and meeting system unveiled at the council's statutory meeting yesterday.

The council was sworn in before a packed gallery in the Town Hall and Tony Perrett re-elected deputy mayor.

Longer meetings will now be held every three weeks, incorporating the agenda items traditionally sent to committee meetings.

"We were occasionally criticised by the public by virtue of our meeting structure and this move will mean our meetings will now be more in line with community expectations," Mayor Ron Dyne said.

While councillor Dyne stressed the importance of stability within the group, coast councillor Mark McDonald wasted no time making it clear he was there to make things happen for the Cooloola Coast.

"We must exhaust all avenues to bring the coast back to life," he said in his inaugural statement.

"We (on the coast) should be showering ourselves in prosperity but we are not."

Councillor Perrett used his speech to lambast the ousted state Labor government for dumping too many costs and responsibilities on the former Gympie Regional Council.

"These state government impositions were very costly, demanding considerable councillor and staff time to implement," he said.

"Cost shifting of state responsibilities without financial assistance was an all-too common practice by the former state government.

"As we all know, local government exists through an act of the Queensland State Parliament.

"We are subject to all their laws and requirements, which from time to time can be very difficult to accept and administer. I look forward to working with the new State Government to achieve less regulation and red tape.

"I also look forward to local government being able to just get on with the job, without the fear of looking over our shoulder for another tax or imposition."

Cr Dyne said Gympie represented the "real Queensland" and had a "real economy providing real goods and services to the nation".

"This and our proximity to Brisbane and our natural attributes means that with hard work, self-confidence and recognising the changed modern world we now live in, we can aspire to being a strong economic hub."

We must exhaust all avenues to bring the coast back to life.

Topics:  council deputy mayor gympie local government

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