COUNCILLOR COMMENTS EXCLUDED FROM OFF-LEASH DOG ZONE MEDIA RELEASE

The Mayor today refused to permit the inclusion of comments into a media release covering the recent decision of Council to refuse an off-leash dog exercise area at Rifle Range Beach.

Citing Council’s recently adopted Information and Communication Strategy and Action Plan 2013-2016, he advised that only comments supporting the adopted Council position on an issue can be reflected in a media release and that Councillors (including Divisional Representatives) who hold a differing viewpoint cannot have their comments included. The comments of the Portfolio spokesperson who supported the successful motion would be permitted.

On one hand I can understand the desire for Council to only include comments which reflect the majority view of elected representatives, but on the other hand (and at a time when transparency is such a topical issue within the community), I would have preferred to see a more balanced regime adopted so that (at the very least) Divisional Councillors with an opposing view can have their thoughts recorded.

I was advised that any Councillor who wishes to make his/her opinions known to their constituents or the general public will need to make their own personal arrangements.

I guess that in that regard I’m fortunate as I’m the only Councillor with an active personal website with links to social media which helps me to effectively express my opinion(s) which is one of the reasons why I set it up. I do however feel concerned for others who don’t have that opportunity as my experience has been that many constituents have a genuine interest as to why their local representative support or oppose matters before Council.

To view the entire report on the Rifle Range Off-Leash issue including my comments, please click on this link: http://www.gregbarnes.com.au/rifle-range-off-leash-area-voted-down/

 

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