South Burnett Regional Council has axed its 12-year-old Portfolio System but will revisit the issue after a 12-month trial
South Burnett Mayor Kathy Duff

May 8, 2024

South Burnett Regional Council has scrapped its portfolio system but will review the decision next year to determine if the new system really does produce a better result.

At the SBRC’s most recent General Meeting, Mayor Kathy Duff moved a motion to repeal Council’s Portfolio Representative Policy.

Mayor Duff outlined her vision for a return to “an amazing Council”.

She recalled that when she served on the former Wondai Shire Council,  in pre-amalgamation times, that Shire’s 3200 residents were supported by a Mayor and nine councillors.

These days,  each of the South Burnett Regional Council’s six divisions – which now host an average 3800 ratepayers – was served by just one councillor and the Mayor.

Mayor Duff said she was making a “captain’s call” to scrap the portfolio system, which was introduced by former Mayor Wayne Kratzmann, to encourage councillors to focus on their Divisions.

She said the dual portfolio/divisional system imposed a heavy workload on councillors and caused confusion among some ratepayers who did not know who to approach about problems.

“This was what I campaigned on,” Mayor Duff said.

Regional issues will now be tackled by councillors in workshops, which would not be live-streamed; the former Portfolio meetings were live-streamed and recorded.

Mayor Duff said no decisions would be taken at the workshops, only at General Meetings.

Cr Jane Erkens said she would support the change on condition it was reviewed in a year’s time to determine if it was a better system.

Cr Ros Heit said there were pros and cons that came with any change, but it was clear at the recent elections many people were dissatisfied with the former Council’s performance.

“If you do what you’ve always done you’ll get what you’ve always got, so this is trying something different and I’m certainly prepared to give it a go,” Cr Heit said

But she emphasised the new approach would only work “if we – as a team – work together.”

Cr Danita Potter said she was also supportive of the motion, but wanted to seek advice from Peak Services (a Local Government Association of Queensland advisory body) to talk to Council in July about the best way forward.

The decision to scrap portfolios by repealing the Portfolio Representative Policy was carried unanimously, as was Cr Jane Erkens’ motion to review the decision in a year’s time.


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