Debate heats up over policies
Bunbury city councillors have exchanged candid words over several of the council’s policies.
Cr Brendan Kelly has been a long-time critic of the council’s decision to allow a Bunbury Geographe Chamber of Commerce and Industry member on its policy committee and during the council’s meeting this week, he again made his concerns known.
The council this year voted to allow chamber chief executive Mark Seaward onto its Policy Review and Development Committee.
Cr Kelly has objected to each of the committee’s minutes presented to the council since the move.
His concerns boiled over on Tuesday night when he was warned by Mayor Gary Brennan on what he said about Mr Seaward.
While speaking against accepting the committee’s minutes, Cr Kelly claimed the policy items on the agenda were “inadequate”.
Mr Brennan, Deputy Mayor Jaysen Miguel and Mr Seaward were the only members at the policy committee meeting, with Cr James Hayward and City of Bunbury chief executive Mal Osborne apologies and Cr Todd Brown on leave.
“It’s a very important committee and I think we need to pick up a few things that seem to be lacking,” Cr Kelly said.
“One of them I note that in the minutes all seven of the motions were seconded by the chair of the BGCCI who doesn’t have that expertise in local government, particularly not in these items.”
Mr Brennan interjected and warned Cr Kelly.
“Cr Kelly your objection is noted ... you’re making comments about a person who is not here and he is a member of the committee,” Mr Brennan said.
“To make comments that a person may not be fit or have the capacity to work on that policy committee isn’t appropriate.”
Cr Miguel also responded by inviting Cr Kelly to attend the policy committee meetings.
“In comments of somebody accepting six (seven) of the motions, I’m very confident that at least that member of the committee had full opportunity to read all the agenda items,” Cr Miguel said.
“Going forward, those meetings are fully allowed to be attended by any member on this council and again, I’d suggest if we do have an apology on future times somebody put their hand up and come and join those meetings.”
Mr Brennan also again defended the committee’s position.
“The policy committee like other committees, make recommendations to this body – so the 12 of us in this room have the opportunity of either supporting or not supporting,” Mr Brennan said.
“The policy committee has no power under its own name to make decisions unless it’s delegated to that committee, as is the case with every other committee.
“And as the chairman of the committee pointed out ... every member of the council is entitled to attend those policy committee meeting, every one of you.”
The council voted in favour of accepting all the policy items, which included a standing orders local law and a review of the elected member allowances policy.
Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.
Sign up for our emails