CONSULTATION: Councillors Dot Holdom, Kevin Skinner, Mike Rayner, Joan van Lieshout, Warren Polglase, Barry Longland, Phil Youngblutt and Katie Milne may relegate some of their decision-making.
CONSULTATION: Councillors Dot Holdom, Kevin Skinner, Mike Rayner, Joan van Lieshout, Warren Polglase, Barry Longland, Phil Youngblutt and Katie Milne may relegate some of their decision-making.

Proposed scheme will give public vote power

THE role of Tweed Shire’s seven elected councillors – who last month voted themselves a three per cent annual pay rise – could be partly usurped by an 800-member community panel chosen by raffle.

Under the scheme proposed by councillors and staff, 800 members of the Tweed community are to be randomly chosen from a database of residents’ names, to vote on a range of issues.

Most would be asked to give their views over the internet.

Tweed mayor Warren Polglase has rejected suggestions the panel would take away from the work- load of elected councillors who are supposed to represent the community, saying it is primarily a way of “improving consultation”.

The proposal has been put on public exhibition, with councillors to vote either this month or next month on whether to pursue the scheme, even though Gold Coast City Council has already scrapped a similar pro- posal.

Cr Polglase cast off claims the system would fundamentally change the way elected councillors were representing the community.

“It’s about consultation. It’s purely to do with consultation,” he said. “One of the things we get belted around the ears with is the lack of consultation.

“Let’s get some feedback from the silent majority.”

Cr Polglase said during protests against last year’s controversial Repco Rally Australia, most councillors felt most voters quietly supported the world championship car rally being held in the Tweed but opponents had a loud voice.

“There was a very strong voice anti the rally. But the silent majority never reflected that point of view,” he said.

Cr Polglase revealed Gold Coast City Council had considered but decided against introducing a similar community panel.

At last month’s Council meeting Greens Party councillor Katie Milne objected to the proposed panel, arguing the plan to offer representation to different areas based on population numbers gave an unfair advantage to Tweed Heads.

She said she did not understand a suggestion from Cr Barry Longland that to adjust representation to give more say to people in geographically larger hinterland areas of the shire amounted to a “Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen-style gerrymander”.



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