Friday, September 13, 2019

The nine-minute council meeting

Cr Rachel Power, centre, discussing her proposal last night.
AN agenda of almost 40 pages, plus nearly 150 pages in attachments, was dealt with in just under nine minutes at last night's special meeting of the Derwent Valley Council.

Held for the sole purpose of determining the council's position on items to be discussed at the Local Government Association of Tasmania today, the meeting saw councillors approve the whole agenda in bulk without any discussion of its various reports.

At the suggestion of Cr Rachel Power, seconded by Cr Martyn Evans, they also voted to allow the mayor or his representative to change the council's vote at the LGAT.

Cr Paul Belcher was the only member to debate Cr Power's proposal that the mayor be given this delegated authority. "What you're saying Cr Power is that if we support some motions at a council meeting, the mayor can actually go [to the LGAT] and vote against the motions."

Cr Power said that was the case, "if that's as he feels is best for the valley, but we still get the discussion so that he understands our feelings. And it also negates the need for the amount of staff that we have in the room right now and special meetings."

Adding that many other councils already gave their mayors this authority, Cr Power said additional information was sometimes received at LGAT meetings that might change a council's predetermined position. "So it's just the same as how we make decisions here. We come into a meeting with no preconceived idea of how to vote. We sit here and we listen to the arguments."

General manager Greg Winton, left, and deputy mayor Jessica
Cosgrove at last night's council meeting.
The motion was carried with the consent of all councillors except for Cr Paul Belcher who opposed it.

Councillors had nothing to say about the LGAT agenda items, which included Statewide Waste Management Arrangements; Local Government Act Review; 21st Century Councils; the State Government's Waste Action Plan; Councillor Survey Outcomes; Heavy Vehicles; Environmental Health Officers; Community Health and Wellbeing Project; and Professional Development, Workshops and Events.

The meeting was chaired by deputy mayor Jessica Cosgrove due to the absence of mayor Ben Shaw. No explanation was given for the mayor's absence but it was said he would be representing the council at today's LGAT meeting in Launceston.

The council will meet again for two council meetings and a community forum next week.

Monday, September 16, 2019:  Special Closed Council Meeting at the Courthouse, Circle St, New Norfolk, 5.30pm. Closed to the public. 

Thursday, September 19, 2019: Community Forum at the Bushy Park War Memorial Swimming Pool, Gordon River Rd, Bushy Park, 5.30pm.

Thursday, September 19, 2019: Council Meeting at the Bushy Park War Memorial Swimming Pool, Gordon River Rd, Bushy Park, 6pm. Download agenda documents here (from Friday evening).


  1. Too lazy to read the agenda, reports and attachments councillors? The Mayor needs to be given direction from the representatives of the ratepayers on 'what is best for our valley'and if he/she changes that vote at the LGAT meeting, then those reasons need to be provided to the councillors and ratepayers. For goodness sake you councillors, do your job!!!

    Unhappy voter

  2. A meeting special enough to be called is worth checking out. A study of the agenda & attached stuff proved to be worth the effort. LGAT is the peak body to which we as rate payers contribute a percentage of our rates to. It takes time to go through the information. At times this can be rushed especially if the meeting to consider the business at hand is the next day.

    There are a few questions that could have possibly been asked and answered. First one agenda item 3.3 Waste Action Plan WAP (page 16) Has any Councilor or this Council supplied any feedback yet?

    Another important issue as per item 3.8 Professional Dev. Workshop & Events (page 33) Will our GM be attending the GM workshop 25 -26th. Sept?

    Then we move onto Policy Update item 3.9 (page 34) Amendments to the Dog Act: How will Council inform the community of the nature of the proposed amendments to the Act?

    Emergency Management: Did any of our Council officers participate in the working group for the municipal emergency management guidelines?