Residents are calling for Moreton Bay Regional Council to be dissolved. Picture: Ric Frearson.
Residents are calling for Moreton Bay Regional Council to be dissolved. Picture: Ric Frearson.

Call to ‘dissolve’ Queensland council

A GROUP of disgruntled residents is calling for Moreton Bay Regional Council to be dissolved following last Tuesday's co-ordination meeting where councillors were unable to make a decision on a controversial development application.

Councillors delegated a decision on the Sandstone Point Hotel's request to increase the number of all-day events it can host per year to CEO Daryl Hitzman after they were unable to reach a quorum to vote on the permit.

The Red Hot Summer Tour at the Sandstone Point Hotel. Picture: Chris Higgins.
The Red Hot Summer Tour at the Sandstone Point Hotel. Picture: Chris Higgins.

Four councillors, including Mayor Allan Sutherland have a current perceived conflict of interest due to donations received from hotel owner Rob Comiskey.

While Cr Brooke Savige (Div1) has a declared personal conflict stemming from a complaint made by Mr Comiskey in 2018.

Council CEO Daryl Hitzman has until Friday to make a decision on the Sandstone Point Hotel development application.
Council CEO Daryl Hitzman has until Friday to make a decision on the Sandstone Point Hotel development application.

A group of residents responsible for 313 submissions against the hotel's application said the council should now be dissolved.

"Surely councillors are elected to represent their local community," spokesman Ken Simper said.

"If they are unable to decide and act on matters of grave concern and pass the buck to paid employees, then why do we need a council?

"The state government has found cause to dissolve councils and appoint a paid administrator. Is it time for MBRC."

 

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Councillors had an opportunity to defer the decision to the following week, after Cr Savige put forward a motion to do so.

It would have given absent councillor Mick Gillam a chance to attend and make up a quorum to vote.

But the motion was shot down in a council vote and was then subsequently delegated to Mr Hitzman to make a decision by March 29.

 

Cr Brooke Savige put forward a motion to defer a decision to the following week, but it was rejected in a vote. Picture: Bradley Cooper.
Cr Brooke Savige put forward a motion to defer a decision to the following week, but it was rejected in a vote. Picture: Bradley Cooper.

Cr Savige said she was "incredibly disappointed" in her fellow councillors shirking the responsibility.

"I voted against the decision to delegate to the CEO because I firmly believe wherever possible, elected representatives should be making decisions in the public interest," she said.

"I believed where there is an opportunity to make a decision, we should explore that opportunity in full,

"I'm incredibly disappointed. It's expected of us; it's what we're elected to do."

Section 123 (c) of the Local Government Act 2009 states the Minister can dissolve a local government if they reasonably believe the council is incapable of performing its responsibilities.

A spokesman for Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchcliffe said "the minister is advised that the CEO has the necessary power to make a delegated decision."

CEO Daryl Hitzman has until Friday to make a decision.



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