Council to make gallery decision

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
Bunbury City Council will vote on the Bunbury Regional Art Gallery’s future tonight.
Camera IconBunbury City Council will vote on the Bunbury Regional Art Gallery’s future tonight. Credit: South Western Times

Bunbury city councillors are “absolutely ready” to make a decision on the future of the Bunbury Regional Art Gallery, according to Mayor Gary Brennan.

In the aftermath of an unprecedented walk out by three councillors at the council’s last meeting, Mr Brennan said he was confident elected members could move forward tonight.

The council will vote on a number of recommendations following a governance review of the gallery – a decision which has been postponed previously and then reached boiling point a fortnight ago when councillors Michelle Steck, Karen Steele and Brendan Kelly walked out of the meeting.

The walk out forced Mr Brennan to end the meeting early as numbers dropped below a quorum with the behaviour labelled by Mr Brennan as nothing but a “stunt” and “disgraceful”.

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Cr Kelly said after the meeting that he was voting with his feet while Cr Steele said she walked out because she was unable to speak against the recommendation.

The sticking point in the review is a change to the funding model which means the council will have to apply to the State Government.

The council receives $170,000 a year but that will end in June next year when funding will change to a competitive model.

With debate finished under standing orders at the council’s last meeting, the item will come back tonight with Cr Betty McCleary’s closing address – which she was delivering during the walk out.

Mr Brennan told the Bunbury Herald he was confident the council would reach a decision tonight.

“There’s no further debate, there’s no questions, there’s just Cr McCleary’s closing then I’ll put it to a vote,” Mr Brennan said.

“The councillors are aware of all the issues ... they should be ready to make a decision, this matter has been looked at, it’s been postponed, it’s been considered, it’s been work-shopped previously at an informal briefing some months ago, so they should be absolutely ready.”

Mr Brennan also said he was “relaxed” about the new funding model because BRAG had an “outstanding” track record and was the major regional gallery in WA.

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