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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Hands up who wants to chair a committee

With the new councillors now elected, sworn in and indoctrinated to what can and can't be done as a councillor the next step in the process is for them to be nominated to be on the many various committees Council has in place. Council staff have advised the councillors that they may establish Committees to provide advice or exercise decision making functions of the Local Government Act. Councillors can attend these committees as observers or be appointed by Council as members of these committees and exercise voting rights. Councillors are also advised that they may also be represented by Council on external committees, saying "It should be noted that the responsibilities and operation of the external committees are set by the host organisation." At next Tuesday's meeting the Councillors will be able to put their names in a hat and nominate to be on a variety of committees. The term of appointment of delegates will be for this term of Council

There are two s355 committees: a. Moruya Showground Management Committee b. Kyla Hall Management Committee Then there are advisory committees: a. Audit, Risk and Improvement Committee aa. Disability Inclusion Advisory b. Eurobodalla Aboriginal Advisory Committee c. Heritage Advisory Committee d. Coastal and Environmental Management Advisory Committee e. Public Art Advisory Committee There are external committees: a. Eurobodalla Local Traffic Committee b. Eurobodalla Bushfire Management Committee c. Floodplain Management Association of NSW d. South East Arts e. South East Australian Transport Strategy Inc As well as these committees: a. Moruya Racecourse Management Committee b. Disability Inclusion Advisory Committee c. Heritage Advisory Committee d. Coastal and Environmental Management Advisory Committee e. Public Art Advisory Committee. All up there are a host of committees that implies that there are agendas, minutes, reports, representatives from the public or other agencies and a whole lot of chat going on. But, if we look at the last term of councillors we witnessed that the public had little, if any idea, of what was achieved in these most of these committees. Hopefully that might change in this term of Council and some measurements put in place that have an expectation of reporting of the committee meetings and that minutes are tabled and accessible on Council's website. They only need to look to Shoalhaven to see how it could, and should be done. For some reason the upcoming agenda item GMR22/017 COUNCIL COMMITTEES AND EXTERNAL BODIES fails to mention External committees, Ministerial Appointments

  • Batemans Marine Park Advisory Committee (Ministerial appointment)

  • Gulaga National Park Board of Management (Ministerial appointment)

  • Regional Development Australia, Far South Coast (Ministerial appointment)

A Ministerial appointment isn't as important as you might imagine with the recipient being a chosen one based on a section criteria that favours those who share Ministerial ideologies. The Ministerial appointment is a required rubber stamp approval for a name that has been put forward by the relevant council to a committee. It will be interesting to see if Rob Pollock will be nominated to be on the Regional Development Australia, Far South Coast again. If you look at the Regional Development Australia, Far South Coast website you will immediately note how out of date it is. It does offer that Rob Pollock is the Chair and that Catherine Dale, General Manager of Eurobodalla Council is a committee member. The out of date website declares that the Regional Development Australia Far South Coast (RDA FSC) "is connecting regional businesses, councils and industry sectors to build a connected, innovative and sustainable region." They offer by example of their vision their Strategic Regional Plan 2013-2018 that is so out of date it is embarrassing. If the Regional Development Australia Far South Coast committee can't be bothered to update its website then what is it actually capable of doing? Of interest is that it appears to be, from all appearances, a bit of a nepotistic huddle in that the Chair & Deputy Chair are appointed by the Commonwealth Minister, and then committee members are appointed by the chair with approval from the government. In November 2020 it was advised that, from 2021, RDA Chairs "will lead their committees under a refreshed charter that focuses their role on driving investment and local procurement opportunities and through this, creating jobs and economic growth for our regions." The renewed charter says, in part "Improve Commonwealth regional policy making by providing intelligence and evidence-based advice to the Australian Government on regional development issues." Yet on the website we so no evidence of such action. Exactly what "intelligence and evidence-based advice" are Chair Pollock and Committee Member Dale offering to the Australian Government on regional development issues, and if any, is it their own perspective or have they consulted with, and represent, their fellow council staff and councillors? Or do their views come as individual views. Just what is the relationship, if any between the RDA and Council? And what happens if there is a conflict of ideologies given that the Australian Government of the day has its own ideas on "regional development issues"?

Applications in November 2020 for a new Chair to the RDA Far South Coast invited people "with commitment to economic development, vision, drive and experience who are able to foster strong communication between local communities and all levels of government". If you look at the Batemans marine park advisory committee website they appear to be active while a search on the Gulaga National Park Board of Management returns no information of the Board's activities, nor of Council's role on the board. Being on a committee or a board is all well and good but what measures do the public have of any accomplishment? With the exception of a few of the above committees there appears to be little value in having a councillor present when they neither advise of their accomplishments or advise of their attendance.


NOTE: Comments were TRIALED - in the end it failed as humans will be humans and it turned into a pile of merde; only contributed to by just a handful who did little to add to the conversation of the issue at hand. Anyone who would like to contribute an opinion are encouraged to send in a Letter to the Editor where it might be considered for publication

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