The Beagle Editor, You southern readers in the Bega Valley Shire might be interested in our latest media release walking the walk …
On May 25th, 2018, Bega valley Shire Council (BVSC) placed its draft Revised Delivery Plan 2017-2021 & Operational Plan 2018-2019 on Public Exhibition.
On May 28th, 2018, the Bega Valley Shire Residents & Ratepayers Association (BVSRRA) wrote to BVSC commenting on the fact that the information placed on public exhibition was incomplete when compared to previous years & calling on BVSC to publish more detailed information, so as to allow for the budget to be subjected to a more rigorous analysis.
On June 18th, 2018, BVSC acknowledged the BVSRRA’s concerns, while confirming that the shortcomings in the information placed on public exhibition were caused, in part, by staff cutbacks initiated during the previous year’s Budget review process.
On the same day, the BVSRRA submitted a GIPA Application seeking the information previously requested.
On June 22nd, 2018, the BVSRRA again wrote to BVSC requesting “copies of any documents or information provided to Councillors in connection with the draft Revised Delivery Plan 2017-2021 & Operational Plan 2018-2019 that was not included in the documents placed on public exhibition on May 25th, 2018”.
On July 6th, 2018, while responding to another matter, Cr Jo Dodds advised the BVSRRA that she fully supported “the right of the BVSRRA to ask questions of the Bega Valley Shire Council, to hold us to account, to interrogate our decisions and processes as your organisation sees fit”.
In response to that advice, the BVSRRA wrote to Cr Dodds on July 13th, 2018, copying her colleagues & requesting their assistance in persuading the general manager to release the requested information relating to the Revised Delivery Plan 2017-2021 & Operational Plan 2018-2019.
While the BVSRRA did not receive a response to its request from any of the elected Councillors, yesterday it received BVSC’s Notice of Decision in respect to its June 18th, 2018 GIPA Application, confirming that, notwithstanding its previous refusal to provide the requested information, it had now determined that it would do so.
While the BVSRRA does not know what prompted this apparent positive change in attitude on the part of BVSC, it can only hope that it is an indication that council intends adopting a more positive response to requests for information from both the BVSRRA & other members of the community in the future.
While BVSC adopted the final Budget for 2017-2018 on June 27th, 2018, the BVSRRA will now review the further information provided in response to its GIPA Application & may then look to make further comment on that plan, even though it has already been adopted.
And finally, the BVSRRA believes it is appropriate to voice its appreciation to BVSC for accommodating its request for further information in respect of the draft Revised Delivery Plan 2017-2021 & Operational Plan 2018-2019.
Bega Valley Shire Residents & Ratepayers Association