Divisions, Decisions & Definitions

Letter To The Editor

What Are The Four Basic Principles?

Under the powers included in the Qld Constitution of 2001, and defined in the Qld Local Gov’t Act of 2009, there are four basic local Government principles that apply to Councils: They aim to ensure local government is: Accountable, Effective, Efficient and Sustainable.

They are:
(a) Transparent and effective processes, decision-making in the public interest,
(b) Sustainable management and infrastructure and delivery of effective services,
(c) Democratic representation, social inclusion, meaningful community engagement,
(d) Good governance of and by local government,
(e) Ethical and legal behaviour of councillors, employees and advisors.

Where, then, is the meaningful community engagement?
One case in point is the footpaths for Beechmont. According to reports,
Beechmont Residents have been appealing for a footpath in front of their school and along the Beechmont Road for 20-30 years. This project was finally included in the SRRC’s latest 10-year Capital Works budget.

Imagine the disbelief of residents to find the footpaths were not going to be put where residents needed them but were being put in a nothrough cul-de-sac where footpaths weren’t needed, and much-valued established shade trees would have to be removed. Council’s response was that they intended to plant more trees.

The local Councillor, Virginia West, in Division 3, seemed to be uniformed and now on the back foot fielding complaints from residents. Residents Action Group Transparent and effective process seems to have been lost on most Councillors who have had to face a public backlash due to lack of
transparency. The planned removal of street trees in Boonah, without
community consultation for the town revitalisation project, left Cr Chalk
under attack from his constituents in Division 5.

The closing of Beaudesert Sale yards caused a community uprising
against the Mayor and Cr Enright in Division 4. The recently announced decision to demolish the toilet, cafeteria and change rooms in the local soccer club’s oval and replaced with a single unisex toilet, and the same in Staffsmith Park, met with justifiable contempt from the community. Tamborine Mtn residents had been petitioning for a desperately needed toilet block for the children’s playground in Lions Park for over a year. This park is also popular with School Market goers and visitors to the Mountain. Local Cr Derek Swanborough in Division 1 had not been included and was unable to comment on this action.

Residents of Kilmore Drive in Division 2 were concerned about council
workmen clearing native vegetation along Sandy Creek earlier this year.
Cr Jeff McConnell tried to placate residents with a hot-off-the-press Council vegetation management plan at the time. It has been recently observed that the management plan has resulted in a sea of yellow flowers of toxic Fireweed that has established in the disturbed ground. It is also reported that Council has also fallen short of its weed control target along roadsides.

And so it goes on …
It is concerning that these actions by the Council/Mayor have caused
embarrassment to the local Councillors and much distress to the residents.

“Ultimately, the elected Councillors are directly responsible to their
community for the local Governments performance.”

What can they do? Call for the Mayor to resign, call for a vote of no confidence in the Mayor, wait for the Government to sack the whole Council for failing to achieve the four basic principles of the Local Government Act 2009, under the Qld Constitution.

(Sources: Local Government Act 2009. Fassifern Guardian & Tribune. SRRC press releases.)

By Julie Wilkinson (Tamborine Mountain Resident)