Art Gallery Trust part of council policy review

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times

Donations to Bunbury Regional Art Galleries are set to again be tax deductable after Bunbury City Council reviewed a suite of its policies.

Along with reviewing more than 10 policies, the council introduced a Bunbury Regional Art Gallery Trust policy.

The trust was signed off last year after the council had stopped funding an independent board to run BRAG in 2014, with the new policy set to guide the trust in receiving gifts, bequests and donations.

Mayor Gary Brennan said the new policy made sense and would allow people to make tax deductable donations.

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The move would see BRAG retain its status with the Australian Taxation Office from when the board ran the facility for 19 years.

The council stopped funding the board in February 2014 and took control of the galleries’ management. Among the council’s other reviews are policies for vandalism graffiti management, equal opportunity and the community use of banner masts in Victoria Street.

There was also a review into the Infringement Withdrawal Policy, which the council has subsequently revoked.

The policy was introduced in 2013 following a controversial situation in which fines issued to chief executive officer Andrew Brien for driving in a nature reserve and then chief financial officer Wayne Wright for parking in an ACROD bay were dropped by the council.

The actions of the council’s executive officers to ask rangers to withdraw the fines prompted a complaint to the Corruption and Crime Commission.

The issue was referred back to the council where it ruled not to withdraw the fines.

The situation prompted the adoption of a new policy, which saw any requests from councillors or council staff to withdraw or alter an infringement be referred to the council for ruling.

The policy has now been revoked and replaced with Mr Brien having to notify councillors when an infringement given to staff or an elected member is withdrawn.

Mr Brennan said he was confident any matters usually under the policy could be dealt with without going before the council.

“I understand the history of it, but it’s an unnecessary administrative matter that can be dealt with quite comfortably by our officers,” Mr Brennan said.

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