Gympie region councillor Ian Petersen shocked his colleagues on Wednesday by briefly resigning from his position on an important regional advisory board.
Gympie region councillor Ian Petersen shocked his colleagues on Wednesday by briefly resigning from his position on an important regional advisory board.

Resign threat rocks council

A DEVELOPMENT planning turf war fire flared at yesterday's Gympie Regional Council meeting, but was quickly doused.

Councillor in charge of development and planning matters Ian Petersen shocked the meeting by resigning from his newly confirmed position on the State Government's Wide Bay Burnett Regional Planning Committee.

Cr Petersen was appointed post-election as the sole council representative on the committee, which will advise Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney, in his role as Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning.

The resignation followed a successful move by Cr Rae Gate to appoint Mayor Ron Dyne as an additional Gympie representative.

It was withdrawn after councillors, including the mayor and Cr Gate, convinced him his contribution would be invaluable, given his extensive experience as Cooloola Shire and Gympie Region planning chairman.

Cr Petersen also had significant success promoting Gympie views on industrial and residential land needs under the previous council, through his position on the committee, as it existed before the recent council elections.

Advice of Cr Petersen's appointment on the new committee was accompanied by a request from Mr Seeney's department for confirmation that Cr Dyne would also "continue to be a council representative in the role of co-chair".

"I don't feel my presence will have the same weight as if I was the council's delegate", Cr Petersen said.

"I don't want to sit there and do nothing like a chocolate cake at a weight watchers' convention," he said.

"If the motion is successful - and I have no reason to think it won't be - I will resign from the position to which I was elected at the statutory meeting (the first formal meeting of councillors after the election)," he said.

But he withdrew his resignation after both the mayor and Cr Gate publicly praised his efforts, as did other councillors.

Cr Gate said Cr Petersen's experience would be essential, "with the number of councillors and mayors who have disappeared in the last local government election." Cr Dyne said he preferred Cr Petersen continue.

Gympie Times


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