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Mayor's Column - Wednesday, 23rd October 2019 Mayor's Column - Wednesday, 23rd October 2019

As I write today’s column I must applaud The Gympie Times as they join journalists and publishers from around Australia to protest encroaching and existing laws relating to secrecy in the three levels of government and government bureaucracy in general. 

As a local government, we too are constrained by State Legislation, and much like some journalists are at the present time, elected officials can be subject to prosecution if this legislation is breached. Regardless of if it’s in the public interest.

Rest assured. A Mayor or Councillor will find themselves in deep water for openly discussing business matters of Council for which a public discussion would likely prejudice the interests of the local government or someone else, or enable a person to gain a financial advantage.

A mayor or councillor will also find the water quite warm if open discussions are had regarding council starting or defending legal proceedings involving the local government. 

It is also considered unlawful according to State Legislation for a councillor to openly discuss the appointment, dismissal or discipline of employees or industrial matters affecting employees.  These are the instances where council will discuss these matters ‘in committee’ however the decision on the subject will be made in open council.  In fact, all council decisions are available to the community.

I can assure you that since performing the role of Mayor there has been many instances where I would have loved to have screamed from the Town Hall clock tower some previous goings on of council in relation to staff, legal proceedings and business matters but have been unable to do so due to the legislation which governs local government. 

The reality is, until change is made to legislation governing local government we will continue to be criticised for obeying the law.

Mayor Mick Curran 

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