GOOD FOR US: Gympie can boast major infrastructure, like the new aquatic centre.
GOOD FOR US: Gympie can boast major infrastructure, like the new aquatic centre. Renee Albrecht

Stop griping, we've got it pretty good in Gympie

I'M NOT a commentator, but...

Gympie Regional Council.

I've been a silent observer of the flow of commentary of recent months.

It seems quite a few people have grievances to air, both legitimate and otherwise.

I've also been viewing media in other parts of Queensland as well as interstate and guess what!

Bagging one's local council seems to be one of our national sports!

And it's been so even before a cousin of mine was Mayor of Warrnambool back in the day.

Whilst it's just human nature to have a good whinge about some aspect of the machinations of your local council - over something they've either done or haven't done - we need to possess the ability to sift through the chaff of petty miffs and find the actions that actually do warrant further scrutiny.

It's just too easy to jump on the old bandwagon.

When it comes to Gympie Regional Council, do we really have a great deal to complain about?

Sure, the latest controversy over "freedom of speech” could definitely have been handled much better by the council but in itself, we weren't talking about the local news media being shut down (like it is in Turkey) or critics being shot in the dark streets of Moscow late at night.

If anything, the council's error of judgment/over- reaction here has to be put down to the sheer frustration of having to contend with a select little group of serial complainers.

Whilst freedom of speech is a fundamental human right in Western society, we have to also recognise that some tend to abuse that right.

Don't some take that right as licence to say just about anything without considering their comments need to be supported by solid evidence?

Some, it has to be said, seem to have their own political agenda at the heart of their frequent complaints.

Not to let the council think it escapes criticism because obviously there are a couple of long-running issues which haven't been successfully resolved in the minds of many.

But comparatively speaking, we do seem to have less to be in a constant state of outrage over.

It's not like a council member shut down half the town for his OTT wedding ceremony.

It's not like someone has been involved in dodgy dealings so cancerous that the entire council had to be dismissed.

And what's going on with the Fraser Coast? It seems they're spending more time explaining themselves to the CCC, LGAQ and Local Government Department than actually doing the job their communities elected them to do.

At least Gympie can boast some major infrastructure planning (eg the Aquatic Centre). What can Maryborough currently boast - Mary Poppins-shaped traffic lights?

It's not like someone was stopped at an interstate airport carrying a suitcase full of cash.

And the environment here is far less bizarrely toxic than in Ipswich, where recently the president of the local residents and ratepayers' association was ambushed and assaulted in reprisal for the mayor's arrest.

It's not a bed of roses being local government.

Of the three tiers of government, it's the one not recognised by our national constitution. It's the level oft subject to the whims of state politics in respect to amalgamations, de-amalgamations, part-amalgamations.

And they often get responsibilities passed on to them from above by governments unwilling to take responsibility for whatever reason.

Sometimes, I think we do take our local council reps a little for granted.

Whilst they should be held to account for their actions and conduct (just as we do for politicians higher up the pecking order), are we more critical because they're closer targets?

Whilst local government has had a history peppered with its share of school yard bullies and yokel despots, we also have to acknowledge that at times it also attracts a fair share of hecklers who are pretty good at complaining and who can't be otherwise bothered to actually stand for the council themselves.

So, there's the challenge for the next poll. If you think you can do a far better hash at the job than the current bunch, how about throwing your hat in the ring and letting the rest of us decide.

Gympie Times

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