Committee expands

A KEY committee of the Bundaberg Regional Council has been expanded in a bid to streamline its decision making.

In future, all councillors will sit on the planning and development committee, rather than the five councillors and the mayor who formed the committee previously.

The decision to expand the committee was taken at the council meeting last week.

Committee chair Ross Sommerfeld said expanding the committee would make it easier for the council to make decisions within a shorter time frame.

“The existing committee only has certain powers delegated to it by the council,” he said.

Cr Sommerfeld said any councillor who was not a member of the committee could have any item deferred to a council meeting if they had any concerns about it.

This meant a decision on an item could be delayed for another two weeks until the next council meeting.

Cr Sommerfeld said there were also times when a councillor disagreed with a recommendation by an official, and this could be discussed at the committee meeting.

The managers of each relevant section would attend the committee meeting.

“It virtually gives us the chance to do it in one hit,” Cr Sommerfeld said.

“It means getting the answer on an application out faster.

“There might be more debate and a slower meeting but it saves losing three weeks by default.”

Cr Sommerfeld said it also gave all the councillors the chance to have more input on decisions by the planning committee.

He said each councillor had a sphere of interest because the council operated on a system of divisions.

The new system would give everyone a fair go.

“It will make it fairer throughout the region,” he said.

“It wasn't that we didn't get things done, it is just more logical this way.”

In a report to the council, planning and development director Andrew Fulton said the move would lead to a more timely, efficient and effective process for the determination of development applications.

The planning and development committee meets every two weeks.

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