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  • Renee Cluff

    Email Renee Cluff

    Controversial Council decisions could be re-considered

    New measures aimed at returning democratic processes to Cairns Regional Council meetings have opened the  possibility of retrospective votes that rescind original decisions.

    Last week, Council agreed to implement new standing committees to avoid decisions being delegated to the CEO when Councillors have conflicts.

    48 decisions have been made without a debate or vote this year, including controversial rulings on the Paradise Palms redevelopment, Esplanade hotel and residential developments and the future of the Cairns Show.

    Cairns Show Association Director Ley James has been the first to ask the Council to reconsider a delegated decision which denied it a long term lease over the Cairns Showgrounds.

    “Short term leases are very restrictive, they don’t allow us to attract funding or borrowing to establish the sort of infrastructure that we want to do in keeping with the masterplan,” Mr Ley said.

    “We’re looking for a 30 year lease.”

    Councillor for Division Five, Richie Bates, agrees a standing committee should retrospectively debate and reconsider decisions that were delegated to the CEO.

    “Now is the opportunity for the standing committee to vote on past issues and fully restore power to elected representatives of the community,” he said.

    “Surely as a matter of consistency and integrity all relevant preceding matters should now be considered.

    “Retrospective action could restore faith in the democratic process and deliver an openness and transparency that has been in question since the implementation of the Belcarrra reforms.”

    Councillor Bates told Tropic Now any non-conflicted Councillor can move a motion to debate and vote on a matter that has previously been dealt with by the CEO.

    However, a Council spokesman told Tropic Now there are limitations.

    "It is possible to rescind some Council decisions however it depends on the nature of the decision," he said. 

    "For example, planning decisions are subject to a statutory process and cannot be reconsidered.

    "Award of contracts are subject to contract law and it would be difficult for these decisions to be reconsidered without adverse consequences.

    "Decisions associated with matters of policy can generally be rescinded, reconsidered or amended."

    From Tropic Now's understanding, that means the Cairns Showground's lease could be revisited, however other decisions such as development approvals are a done deal.