FCO memorandum really is all good, says Mayor

THE Fraser Coast's Mayor Gerard O'Connell is restating his belief that a new Memorandum of Understanding the council has with Fraser Coast Opportunities is necessary and permits councillors to speak openly.

Local Government Minister David Crisafulli this week encouraged councillors to challenge policy if it prevents them being a strong voice and labelled any such policy absurd.

His comments came after the Chronicle sent the Minister's department an extract from the MoU of guidelines for how a councillor should speak on FCO matters.

Those guidelines suggested councillors not publicly criticise FCO, its board and directors, or its staff regardless of their personal views.

Now, the Mayor is answering back, suggesting the minister be better informed to make comments if he made time to read the document through.

"I think it would be better if he read it in totality, then I think he would have a better understanding of what's intended," Cr O'Connell told the Chronicle.

"What I said (already) was I think it's an entirely appropriate document, I think it's an empowering document for council, I think it builds good relations and they are very much everyday business tools for business and governments."

The MoU drew attention after three councillors - Chris Loft, James Hansen and Rolf Light - refused to support the agreement at a vote.

The three made comments that they believed their conduct as councillors was ruled sufficiently by other policies already.

They were also of the belief the agreement would restrict them publicly expressing their views of FCO and its performance.

Ratepayers fork out about $42,000 each week to fund FCO, which is in charge of the region's interests in tourism, events, marketing and investment attraction.



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