Council votes to open portfolio meetings to the public
THE SOUTH Burnett Regional Council have voted to open portfolio meetings to the public as a move towards a more transparent and accountable Council.
In a new era of South Burnett Council, Councillors will move away from closed door portfolio meetings and adopt a new standing committee model.
A standing committee model allows for free flowing discussion as the meetings are less structured and more informal.
South Burnett Regional Council CEO Mark Pitt said the standing committee model allows for more discussion as opposed to debate.
"The standing committee concept can be used as opposed to the general meetings because it provides an opportunity for a very open and a little more unstructured discussion," CEO Pitt said
"The standing committees are very much open to the public.
"These committees allows councillors to come to a decision that can then be endorsed at the monthly general meetings."
The committees will cover the topics of infrastructure, executive and community services, and finance and corporate matters.
All councillors will be on the committees and Mayor Brett Otto will chair the meetings.
Councillor Kirstie Schumacher said standing committees will allow for more robust discussion in the public arena.
"This will allow the public to see the discussion and work that goes into the decisions council make," she said.
"It's really about opening the doors for deeper conversations in the public eye.
"This approach aligns with good, ethical, transparent and accountable government."
The standing committee model will be trialled from the start of November till the end of December with one meeting held each Wednesday.
After this trial, the SBRC will adopt a formal schedule of dates, times and locations for future meetings.
Councillor Kathy Duff said it's a fantastic day for council.
"The community can now hear the debate going on behind the scenes, providing background to some of the big decisions council make," she said.
"It's a way to take the community with us in our decision making process and help them understand how we come to decisions."