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Alligator penises and Pet food: just another Ordinary Council meeting

The Ordinary meeting of Council (Tuesday 12th No, 2019) would have been quite a dull affair if it wasn't for a few highlights that brought entertainment to the public gallery. Prior to Meeting Councilors heard from three speakers. Coral Anderson and Peter Cormick spoke of the motion that Council write to Racing NSW and politely inquire if they look after their race horses during and after their racing careers. Generally a Dorothy Dix question as the answers are published on the Racing NSW website under their Vision and Strategy Plans. But it was a fair question to ask in light of the fact that Council had just sold the Moruya Racecourse for an undisclosed amount to Racing NSW. Oddly, when Council owned the Moruya Racecourse they didn't ask such questions. During the Public Forum presentations they were reminded that they did own the Moruya Showground and that if they wanted to show compassion for animals at a facility they own, manage and lease the annual rodeo's endorsed by Council might be a good place to begin. One of the speakers advised in her presentation that "In the United States, horses are not allowed to be used for human consumption nor for pet food, Yet, here in Australia, it is shamefully legal." Come question time Councillor Jack Tait asked "What happens to horse meat in the USA?" The speaker said she did not know to which Councillor Tait harrumphed victoriously saying "Why don't you have the answer", adding "I find it quite amazing you can say that without knowing the answer". Councillor Tait had delivery of the speakers presentation from the afternoon before in order to read and develop any questions he might have. A simple Google search would have directed his question (and gained his answer) if he had bothered. With the ratepayers paying an average of $1000 to provide our councillors with phone/internet and giving them all an iPad it is a shame that Councillor Tait didn't bother using it to look up the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act of 2011 or ask Siri to do it for him. It was an amusing aside though to an otherwise serious issue that did see informed questions come through from other councillors. The next speaker in Public forum delivered a petition of 70 pages calling for a public toilet with disabled facilities for Mogo to be located in the centre of the town at John Street Reserve. It was revealed that the petition had been handed to Councillor Lindsay Brown in March 2019. Discussion around this during the Council meeting revealed that on receipt of the petition in March 2019 it was decided by the petitioner and the councillor to not table the petition in Council but to photocopy it and pass it on to the Member for Bega in an attempt to secure funding. When that didn't work the petitioner then sought out other grants and it was only now, in November 2019, when all other avenues were exhausted, that Councillor Brown and the petitioner decided to table the document. Having missed out on two quarterly opportunities to reassess toilet priorities in the Eurobodalla and accommodate the request of the 70 pages of signatories that may have seen the toilet considered, funded and constructed for the 2019/20 peak tourist season the decision to wait until today will now see the toilet proposal being considered on its merits sometime in 2020. And as for the alligator penises? Councillor Mayne had a question on notice in regards to plastic recycling. A good response from staff was given on what has been achieved to date. Discussion turned to biodegradable bags and Councillor Nathan delighted the gallery that a study in the Everglades had found that alligator penises were shrinking due to the chemicals found in the bio-degradable bags. Adding to her statement was the inclusion of snails who are also experiencing reductions to their snail-hood. More on this as she sets to present the wonderful, marvelous information she gleaned at the last conference she attended. The Mayor did herself an injustice on two fronts today. The first was in openly and loudly castigating Councillor Mayne when he had the audacity to ask if Council had received any response back from the State Government in regard to the letter Council had sent around the issue of reducing plastic waste. A fair question. On the 9th of May Council adopted a MOTION THAT Council: 1. Write to the New South Wales and Australian Government advocating for a ban on single use plastic bags. The Mayor was not impressed with his question responding that the councillor had every opportunity to ask staff the question and that his thinking of questions on the fly was not to her liking. There was a bit of back and forth between them that saw Councillor Mayne gain the upper ground. The flair up and outburst wasn't at all surprising to the "Usual Suspects" in the gallery as they had detected a frisson developing. This then continued into the next item on the agenda. The petition for the Mogo Toilet revealed the March 2019 handover and sensing that there was a possible crack that might allow a parry and stab to her 2020 Mayoral opponent however he came back with roses as he revealed that there was a strategy that was in play to the late tabling of the petition; not necessarily the best strategy however, as it turns out, a possible good outcome to endorsing a much needed facility before this Council term comes to an end. Not much followed in the meeting except for a few failed attempts at raising Urgent Matters such as the updating of the community on the status of the LEP and the 'numerous differences' that were suggested by the Mayor as being unknown that must now be known. Councillor McGinlay also wanted to seek information around the 3000ML of water that is being wasted annually from sewerage treatment works during a time of drought. The Mayor considered neither of these matters were urgent. Meeting closed.

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