Gympie Mayor Ron Dyne.
Gympie Mayor Ron Dyne. Renee Pilcher

Mayor Dyne backs council change

SUNSHINE Coast Council has again had to defend changes to its meeting structure after following Gympie's lead and replacing its standing committees with portfolios.

The controversy on the Sunshine Coast continues to perplex Gympie Mayor Ron Dyne, who yesterday repeated his defence of the new system now employed by the Gympie, Sunshine Coast and North and South Burnett Regional Councils.

Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson said this week the change enabled new councillors to better understand the full range of issues confronting local government, and was about getting good decisions and full transparency.

He was forced to defend it after a push from Noosa-based councillors for the coast to revert back to the old committee and meeting system.

Cr Dyne repeated his belief that the portfolio system is just as open and transparent as committees, and more efficient.

Standing committees are still used by the Fraser Coast, Bundaberg, Moreton, Brisbane, Redlands, Logan and Gold Coast councils.

The Sunshine Coast has a whole-of-council meeting once a month and Gympie once every three weeks.

The agenda and background papers for Sunshine Coast meetings are made available to the public two weeks before they are held.

"This allows everyone in the community to read them, discuss with their local councillor, or attend the monthly ordinary meeting of council," Cr Jamieson said.

Gympie agendas are not posted on the council website until two days before each meeting.

Councillors and staff meet in closed sessions before general meetings where questions can be asked of staff, but there is no debate on the issues, Cr Jamieson said.

These closed sessions were just as much a part of the old committee system.

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