General News

4 April, 2024

New council ready to serve

ONE Mareeba Shire councillor has hit the ground running, calling for a review into how and where council holds its meetings immediately after the new council was sworn in last week.

The new-look Mareeba Shire Council (from left), Cr Ross Cardillo, Cr Kevin Davies, Deputy Mayor Lenore Wyatt, Mayor Angela Toppin, Cr Amy Braes, Cr Mary Graham and Cr Nipper Brown.
The new-look Mareeba Shire Council (from left), Cr Ross Cardillo, Cr Kevin Davies, Deputy Mayor Lenore Wyatt, Mayor Angela Toppin, Cr Amy Braes, Cr Mary Graham and Cr Nipper Brown.

New councillors Amy Braes, Nipper Brown and Ross Cardillo, along with incumbents Crs Lenore Wyatt, Mary Graham and Kevin Davies and Mayor Angela Toppin officially took the oath to serve their community at the first meeting on Tuesday.

Crs Wyatt and Brown put their hands up for the Deputy Mayor role, both presenting their case to the council before the outcome of a secret ballot revealed Cr Wyatt, who topped the poll with 8314 votes at the 16 March election, will hold the title for the next four years.

Having been a councillor for the past eight years, Cr Wyatt said she believed she was the best person for the job having had a key role in the “core business” of council through her representation of the shire on LAWMAC (Local Authority Waste Management Advisory Committee), as the deputy chair of the Traffic Advisory Committee, as a member of the Regional Development Arts Fund committee, and as the chair of the Mareeba Local Tourism Organisation.

“I was very humbled by the support of voters all across the shire and being able to top the polls,” she told the council.

“I have a lot of experience to step up into the role as Deputy Mayor.

“Nearly everyone here around the table has seen my tenacity, my commitment and my dedication to constituents of this shire and I always have, and always will, treat this position – my part-time position – as a full-time role having no other employment or business obligations.

“I am more than ready Mayor to step up and support you and also councillors.”

As soon as the official proceedings were finished, Cr Braes moved that the council consider changes to its meetings, saying there had been quite a bit of feedback during the election campaign about certain aspects of council’s meeting processes.

She moved that council look at live streaming its meetings as other local councils do such as Cairns and Tablelands; that meetings be held in different towns outside Mareeba on occasion during the year; and that agendas for upcoming meetings be made available to the public earlier.

“I recommend to council that it is important to carefully consider the requests (of people) gathered during the campaign period, assess their feasibility and the benefit to the entire Mareeba Shire and then inform the community of the outcome of that deliberation,” Cr Braes said.

“The three items I want to propose that council consider in the short-term are that the council live-stream all general meetings – this seems to be coming more commonplace with local government and was requested by several residents during the campaign.

“Secondly, that council holds a general meeting in, perhaps, three locations outside of Mareeba including Kuranda and two other locations once per year – that is for example, nine meetings per year in Mareeba and three others in other locations.

“If, when this is fully considered by council, it is endorsed, I would suggest it is trialled for one year to gauge the feasibility, the level of interest and benefit to communities.

“And the third, and final point, is a response to a request from residents that the council agendas be released earlier to allow time for interested residents to review the reports.”

Currently, the agenda is released on Monday mornings before the meeting is held on Wednesdays.

There was no discussion from any other councillors on Ms Braes’ requests. Council will now wait for the officers to review the requests and report back.


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