Council expenses anger locals

COUNCILLORS yesterday showed a spurt of conscience in the wake of five of them soaking up more than $12,000 between April and June this year in attending conferences.

But at yesterday’s City Hall meeting, councillor Barb Hovard (pictured) was in razor mode to cut conference gigs for 2010-2011.

“Why are we sending three councillors to the Local Government Association of Queensland annual conference when we already have two registrations included in our membership at no further cost?”

Sue Brooks pointed out that councillors’ “desire to attend” conferences didn’t “automatically mean we will be going”.

Ms Hovard said that in talking to pensioners worried about rates, “every little helps”.

The council had planned on sending up to 26 people to 16 conferences, including the Indigenous Road Safety Conference.

But Les MucKan was not happy because only one councillor had been listed as entitled to go.

Mr MucKan pointed out he was the only indigenous councillor and asked, hypothetically, if David Dalgleish, who holds the portfolio that deals with roads, wanted to go, why shouldn’t he go?

“I can’t see the difference between indigenous roads and infrastructure roads,” mayor Mick Kruger said.

“I’m talking about the safety of our indigenous community,” Mr MucKan retorted.

Mr Dalgleish agreed with those cautioning pecuniary conservatism but said that he also agreed with Mr MucKan.

“At roads conferences we never discuss indigenous people sleeping on black bitumen at night because they want to keep warm. Now I’m not saying I’m that other person (who should go to this conference) but attending an indigenous road safety conference can be very valuable.”

Mr MucKan didn’t get his more than one to go motion through but Ms Hovard got her three to the conference down to two.

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