April 28, 2021
A petition calling for Division 6 Cr Scott Henschen to be removed from his position received short shrift when it was presented to the SBRC’s General Meeting on Wednesday.
CEO Mark Pitt said the petition could not be received because it was invalid.
This was because the petition did not comply with the Council’s Conduct Of Council Meeting and Committees Policy.
This policy specifies any petition presented to a Council meeting will be:
- In legible writing or typewritten and contain a minimum of 10 signatures
- Include the name and contact details of the Principal Petitioner (ie. the person who organised the petition and who will act as the key contact for the issue)
- Include the postcodes of all petitioners, and
- Have the details of the specific request or matter appear on each page of the petition.
Mr Pitt said the petition presented to Council was only a list of names and dates with no other discernible features.
In addition, even if the petition had complied with the Council’s rules for valid petitions, Council did not have any legal capacity to act on it.
“A councillor is not able to be dismissed by petition,” Mr Pitt said.
“There is no provision in the Local Government Act 2009 that empowers Council to take any form of lawful action to dismiss a councillor.”
Mr Pitt noted he had been advised a copy of the petition has also been sent to the Office of the Independent Assessor, and he believed this was the best agency to deal with the matter.
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A correctly prepared petition lodged by the South Burnett Residents and Ratepayers Group to protest against last year’s $2.8 million expansion of the Kingaroy Transformation Project’s budget received a much different reaction when it was accepted at the Council’s March general meeting.
Councillors voted unanimously to delegate CEO Mark Pitt to respond to the petitioners’ concerns – in particular, that the project was not fully funded and might place Council under financial stress.
The CEO was also asked to extend an invitation to the petition’s organiser and community members to meet with Council in person to discuss the information provided to them and ask any further questions they had which remained unanswered or were unclear.