The decision to leave Southside residents hanging in the wind about the future of Southside Sewerage, after work was promised to start on the next stage, is insulting to those affected.
The decision to leave Southside residents hanging in the wind about the future of Southside Sewerage, after work was promised to start on the next stage, is insulting to those affected.

Deliberate silence on Southside sewerage insult to residents

IF THE new Gympie Regional Council wants to make some easy money it should sell the cone of silence clearly in common use over the last few terms.

Yesterday’s revelation the recently voted out council ordered a halt on sending out information about the future of Southside Sewerage unless people specifically asked for it is hardly a surprise; it merely reinforced a trend of carelessness and arrogance regarding those who paid the council wages over the past years.

It’s still a shocker, though.

Council staff revealed yesterday after the next stage of Southside’s Sewerage scheme was put on hold in 2018, the council’s communication strategy was to tell residents nothing unless they chased it up.
Council staff revealed yesterday after the next stage of Southside’s Sewerage scheme was put on hold in 2018, the council’s communication strategy was to tell residents nothing unless they chased it up.

To recap: Residents on the Southside were told that work on stage eight of the scheme would begin in July 2018.

That work was ultimately pulled off the table so the money could be spent elsewhere, but instead of informing the households involved of this significant change in plans, the council left them hanging in the wind.

It’s one thing to forget to tell them it was off.
That’s bad, but at least born of a mistake.

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But to decree they be told nothing unless they ask?

I’ve lost track of how many times I was told (by that council) that it was open, transparent, and actively communicated with the public over those four years.

“We’re not telling you unless you ask” is none of those things.

A direction which orders no information be released unless absolutely necessary is hardly “open” or “transparent”, no matter how often the words are thrown around.
A direction which orders no information be released unless absolutely necessary is hardly “open” or “transparent”, no matter how often the words are thrown around.

It’s not just dropping the ball; it’s kicking it under the table, throwing a rug over it and then acting surprised (and in some cases, annoyed) when people start asking where it’s gone.

You can’t help but wonder, too: how many times was a similar direction taken in staff briefings?

How does this breed trust?

If a tradie told you he would be around on Thursday to fix your sink and then never showed up, never called to tell you he wouldn’t be there and left it to you to chase him up about it, how eager would you be to give them more work in the future?

And that there is the real problem.

Whether it was the “does it exist or doesn’t it” nature of the Rattler report (hint: it does), the refusal to release anything from the 2016 water report and staff surveys without the type of arm twist usually reserved for professional wrestling, or the CPA accountancy report which eviscerated its financial habits three years after the public started doing the same, there was no shortage of self-inflicted wounds in the Smith Curran council.

And the thing about continually shooting yourself in the foot is, sooner or later, you’ll run out of toes.

Gympie Times


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