Saturday, April 26, 2008

Newspaper facts wrong on Motor Park

One of the co-founders of the proposed Motor Park headlined in today's daily is hopping mad that the paper could get it so wrong.
He said the story had the potential to destroy what should be a viable community project with the capability of creating jobs, take illegal racing off the streets, give kids something to do and has the potential to be environmentally sound. Check out the other side of the story by clicking this link to Bring Back Strewth.

Bowser Blues - v - Motor Park

Where are we going? With petrol at an all-time high and little chance of the price ever dropping in a significant way. There are some amongst us those who want to promote fuel usage!! They want to build a Motor Park!!!
We have people drawing our attention to societies ongoing waste of the world's resources and we have others trying the hasten the process.

Oil is a finite resource, it will never get cheaper. Availability will continue to decline and cost will continue to climb.

While a Motor Park may have had some reason for being 20 years ago, although the writing was on the wall even then, there is no rational or sustainable reason to build one today. Motor sport as we know it, is going the way of the Dodo. Until we find a cheap and viable alternative to oil/petrol, to promote motor sport borders on the criminal.

If private enterprise wishes to waste its money on such a project, so be it. But please don't waste public money on a dying industry.

John A Neve

Thursday, April 24, 2008

One family, two cars: Ratepayers foot the bill

Morale among some Fraser Coast Regional Council staff is understandably low at the moment but that doesn't apply to the Arthur household, where Cr Julie Arthur and her husband John enjoy the use of two council-owned vehicles.
The Free Clarion received a tip off from a reader, and a council spokesperson confirmed that Mr Arthur, the former Maryborough City Council Water Officer, is currently on two years leave, just under two years left to run, and that he had private use of his council vehicle. The spokesperson said it was probably part of his contract and confirmed that his vehicle was not at the Council's Maryborough office for use by staff.

The tip off said there was a shortage of council vehicles available for staff to use when they needed one to undertake council work. It was hardly fair that Mr Arthur was allowed to get away with taking one home for his personal use for such an extended period of time.

As part of the pay package for Councillors, Cr Arthur also has the use of a council vehicle. Why should ratepayers be paying for the supply of two vehicles to this couple? He is, after all, not using his ratepayer funded vehicle for council work and I am sure Cr Arthur would not mind giving him a lift in hers should he need one. 

The Free Clarion earlier this month exposed Cr Arthur's possible conflict of interest in accepting the role of the council Chairperson of the Water & Sewerage Infrastructure portfolio because of her husband's council position. See Portfolio Chair may constitute a conflict of interest.  

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Cracks appear in new council team

Less than a month since the polls were declared cracks are appearing in Mayor Mick's new council team, if a public rant by one Fraser Coast councillor is anything to go by. 
It is one thing to vent one's spleen in public and not be recognised, but to disturb the patrons of a popular beach side cafe while wearing an easy to read name badge, is quite another.

The councillor complained long and loud to her companion about one councillor who, reportedly in a bad mood, wanted to annex Maryborough and its problems from the Fraser Coast Regional Council altogether. Interesting that the councillor being complained about said he supported an amalgamated council during his election campaign and indeed secured a swag of votes from Maryborough voters. 

The councillor also proclaimed her disgust at how one councillor had treated her during a meeting, to the point that she became so upset she felt "nauseous". That another councillor needed to be pulled into line and support the Maryborough councillors. And the Mayor needed to do more to keep his team in line.

The tirade finished with a bemused shaking of her head and a "why am I putting up with this, for what? $70,000 a year? I could be earning $150,000 in private enterprise, but I have made a commitment. Perhaps I should do what a lot of the others do, just take my $70,000 and sit back and do nothing." 

Could a bye-election be on the cards?

I understand this councillor's frustration with some of her colleagues, but that is the nature of politics. Councillors are there to do the job of representing those who elected them. Sometimes it can be bloody. Loyalties are fickle and it must be remembered councillors are not members of a quilting club. They are a disparate group, each pushing their own agenda. The niceties can disappear in an instant despite all initially pledging to honour the Councillor Code of Conduct.  

Monday, April 21, 2008

What section of the Local Government Act, Mr Mayor?

Tonight's local television news carried the story of REST and its receipt of a notice of eviction by the Fraser Coast Regional Council.
The mayor Mick Kruger cited two reasons for not extending the REST contract to continue its recycling activities in Maryborough until tenders were called in about seven months time. The first was that the original contract did not have provision for extending the contract, and the second was that extending the contract would contravene the Local Government Act. 

The interview did not elaborate on what section of the Local Government Act covered a situation such as this. Using the Local Government Act as a reason for not doing what is right and proper is normally the refuge of bureaucrats who simply don't want action taken on a particular issue. 

Perhaps the mayor could explain what section of the Act covered the council's decision or whether he was advised to use that hoary old chestnut as an excuse by the relevant bureaucrat?

In the meantime keep the pressure on our elected representative to represent us, the voters and ratepayers, and not the opinion of unelected bureaucrats. They are there to advise but not to interfere in council decision making. See, Support REST: Contact councillors and let them know where you stand.

I must watch myself, I am beginning to sound like the editor of the local daily rag...... Ahhhhh! In my defence I did not use the term "faceless bureaucrats".

Coal in them there hills?

There appears to be plenty of coal under the ground on the Fraser Coast. I am not talking about Howard or Torbanlea but apparently a company named the Tiaro Coal Company has conducted surveys from Dundathu to Traveston Crossing.
Could this discovery change the State Government's intention to build the Traveston Crossing Dam? The flooding of viable farming land, destruction of the lower Mary River and the Great Sandy Straits for water, versus millions/billions of $$$'s from the sale of greenhouse gas emitting black gold to emerging third world countries? Quite a dilemma.

Check out Roger Currie's excellent blog site for more information, links and maps.  Also read the comments on Bring Back Strewth and Hervey Bay Gossip

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Support REST: Contact councillors and let them know where you stand

Public Question time at last Wednesday's Fraser Coast Regional Council general meeting was dominated by supporters of REST, a voluntary organisation that funds its community programs from recycling.
REST supports 18 community groups who rely on its ongoing operations. These include a Youth Centre for young people affected by mental illness and a computer school for more than 200 senior citizens.

REST had a contract with the old Maryborough City Council to run the recycling centre at its rubbish tips which expires at the end of the month. But after weeks of talks with councillors, REST now faces eviction. The organisation has been given 14 days notice by the council to vacate the recycling centre. The recycling centre is its only source of funding and without it REST and the Bazaar Street Community Centre could be forced to fold.

Those who spoke at the council meeting asked council to consider allowing REST to continue its recycling operation until tenders were called and it could tender to run the service. The, at times, emotional speakers feared the loss of something that had made such a positive impact on so many lives.

REST is a volunteer organisation that funds its services in a positive way to truly benefit the community. It would be a travesty if it lost its income source over the period of time the council takes to restructure its operations and it was not around to tender for the recycling business when and if it finally goes out to tender.

Support REST by letting our elected representatives know how the community feels about this issue. The power of the people can change things so email them either as a group or individually.  Click on the following email links. All councillors or the mayor, Mick Kruger, deputy mayor, Belinda McNeven, councillors, Julie ArthurSue Brooks, David Dalgleish, Linda Harris, Debbie Hawes, Barbara Hovard, Les MucKan, Anne Nioa, Gerard O'Connell. 

Friday, April 18, 2008

Dingo fence equals political farce

The dingo management situation on Fraser is a joke. No disrespect to the rangers who do a great job completely hamstrung by a lack of funding and resources, conflicting policies, and politicians who tell them to do one thing one day then something else the next.
The dingo problem has been around for decades. Compounded by the removal of the brumbies and the closing of the tip sites on Fraser. The dingos then got hungrier and braver. The dingos have been responsible for the decimation of a lot of other wildlife on the island, especially the ground dwelling animals. Nobody seems to consider that issue.

Years ago rangers were told not to fine people for feeding the dingos as it was bad for tourism, just warn them. The culmination was the tragic loss of Clinton Gage. Rangers were then ordered to practically shoot dingos on sight, and to fine anyone who so much as wiped a greasy pan and left the piece of paper lying around, or left an empty egg shell in the camp site. Then the rangers were ordered to put up that stupid fence around Waddy Point barbecue area as a cheap political stunt. NOT around the camping area where most of the humans spent most of their time, but around a small barbecue area measuring a hundred metres or so, which got very little use.

For years numerous experienced people debated and discussed the issue, with the government doing nothing. The Fraser Island Advisory Committee made recommendations. Nothing was done. Businesses and tour operators all had ideas. Nothing. The most sensible idea was to place remote feeding stations several kilometres from residential and popular camping areas to attract the dingos away. At the same time dingoes could be medicated via their food for disease and population control. The radicals said this was interfering too much with nature.

So now, out of the blue, our great white knight Andrew McNamara, after no public consultation by himself whatsoever, comes charging in on his donkey and builds the Great Wall of Fraser. Except it really is not a wall to control dingos at all. It is a cheap, correction, expensive political stunt that ruins a massive amount of sensitive habitat, walls in the humans in a couple of relatively small places, REALLY cheeses everybody off, and it won't even work! 

The Watcher

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Dingo fence clearing causes environmental damage

The State government's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has pushed ahead with clearing for the construction of a dingo fence and fire break around the Fraser Island townships of Eurong and Happy Valley, causing major environmental damage. 

Fraser Coast Regional councillor, Sue Books successfully moved yesterday that the council write to the Minister of Sustainability, Climate Change and Innovation, Andrew MacNamara outlining concerns about the lack of consultation, non consideration of the former Maryborough and Hervey Bay Councils' expressed concerns, and the unacceptable environmental damage caused when the route was cleared by bulldozers. 

Cr Brooks showed a series of photographs of the damage caused by the clearing and labelled the fence as unnecessarily intrusive in an environmentally sensitive area which was World Heritage listed.

Cr Les MucKan who rarely comments, said on behalf of the Butchulla people, that he was disgusted by the environmental damage shown in the photographs. He said if dingos were fed they would not cause a problem.

Cost cutting? You betcha

The Fraser Coast Regional Council's first Ordinary Meeting No. 1 took place yesterday. In line with the main reason for amalgamation our council has started cutting costs. No longer will members of the public attending council meeting be able to obtain a hard copy of council's agenda! There will now be three copies in plastic folders to be shared!! This will not only save ratepayers money, but also save the trees!!!
A cynic like me could think this is aimed at keeping the public in the dark. I am told those with access to a computer can download a copy prior to attending council meetings. So we don't save trees, we just shift the cost.

It was decided, once again not to pursue non voters at the recent council elections. I've always thought a law that can't or won't be enforced, is a bad law and should be removed from legislation.

Fees associated with Food Safety have been increased raising revenue from $105K to $113K.

Councillor Arthur was elected to represent council on the Local Government Association of Queensland Executive for 2008 - 2012.

Authority was given to the mayor to set in motion the recruitment of our new CEO.

Meeting closed: 1130hrs.

John A Neve