Council moves to open debate welcomed

By ALLAN McNEILallanm@gladstoneobserver.com.au

CHANGES made by Gladstone City Council are a step in the right direc- tion, but more still needs to be done to open the process up to the public.

Michelle Beckman has seen council meeting times change and the introduction of formalised vot- ing in recent times, both of which have gained her approval.

Previously Councillors adopted a token voting system where it was unclear who was for and who was against an issue.

But now Councillors clearly indi- cate their support for an issue for residents in the gallery to see.

'I think that's a good idea (seeing who is voting which way), they just can't make this ambiguous vote, they're accountable for how they vote,' Ms Beckman said.

Council also recently made a move to bring more town planning matters out of confidential sessions so they can be seen by residents.

'Town planning is the one issue most residents are concerned about, they want to know what is planned around the area,' Ms Beck- man said.

However a trial of new meeting times has yet to convince Ms Beck- man, with ordinary meetings now conducted during the day, instead of at night.

Ms Beckman said while it fits in with her schedule, there would be some residents who used to attend the night time meetings, but now wouldn't be able to make those in the day because of work com- mitments.

Council chief executive officer Julie Reitano said the new council meeting times would be reviewed after a trial period and residents' views were welcome on the issue.



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