Shake-up of council portfolios

by Jessica McGrath

A shake-up of council portfolios will see greater attention to detail through the introduction of South Burnett Regional Council standing committee meetings.

The council held their first committee meeting under the banner of ‘Infrastructure’ last Wednesday and the second, the Executive and Community Standing Committee, yesterday.

The Infrastructure Standing Committee covers Cr Gavin Jones’ roads and drainage portfolio and Cr Ros Frohloff’s local disaster management, water and wastewater portfolio report.

Initially in a council’s monthly general meetings, councillors would provide a report from their portfolios.

Now these will work in conjunction with the three different standing committees -‘Infrastructure’, ‘Executive and Community’, and ‘Finance and Corporate’.

Council chief executive Mark Pitt said the standing committee was an opportunity for information reports to be generated.

“This is a way better mechanism for an information report, rather than a general meeting,” he said.

Mr Pitt said they tried to streamline the portfolios under no more than two categories in council.

The committee is designed to conduct most of the investigative and detailed work and is attended by the seven councillors and chaired by Mayor Brett Otto.

A recommendation can then be made to council to enable an informed decision.

The Infrastructure Standing Committee has the power only to recommend a course of action to council.

The council may, by resolution, delegate authority to the Infrastructure Standing Committee to decide matters.

All councillors voted in favour of introducing the standing committees during their October general council meeting.

Mayor Otto said this was a significant reform for the council as they moved into a new era which is seeing an increase of legislation regulation that is expecting councils to be more open, transparent and keeping their community informed.