Lismore City Council's councillors will be meeting virtually tonight to discuss May’s meeting agenda.
Lismore City Council's councillors will be meeting virtually tonight to discuss May’s meeting agenda.

Claims a council committee has become ‘unworkable’

SUPPORTING Australian goods, CBD rates and council audits are all up for discussion at tonight’s Lismore City Council meeting.

The council, which will be meeting virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions, will be discussing several items, including:

  • The Lismore City Council Audit and Risk Committee ARIC chair, Stephen Coates, has written to the council explaining the reason for the committee’s need to be disbanded.

In 2018, the council elected councillors Adam Guise and Darlene Cook as delegates to the committee.

But in his letter, Mr Coates explains the committee has become “unworkable” and cannot be used as a “political football”.

“Lismore City Council is now more than ever in need of clear and transparent oversight from an ARIC, however my view is that the committee cannot continue to operate in its current form,” Mr Coates stated.

He recommends “the committee be re-established in a separate manner to section 355 Committees, or meetings be suspended until such time it can operate as a true independent oversight mechanism of council”.

The council will discuss what it’s next step will be at the meeting tonight.

Cr Bill Moorhouse is hoping to support Australian business.
Cr Bill Moorhouse is hoping to support Australian business.

  • Councillor Bill Moorhouse is asking the council to update its procurement policy with statements and outcomes that support the promotion of Australian made workwear for council staff.

Cr Moorhouse stated in the business papers he hoped to the council would support Australian businesses now more than ever.

“The recent COVID-19 crisis has highlighted Australia’s vulnerability because we have been purchasing large volumes of crucial materials from overseas – principally China. Lismore, like many councils, supplies workwear and uniforms to staff,” Cr Moorhouse said.

“I would like to see this council publicly declare that from now on items of clothing purchased must be manufactured in Australia and preferably within the region.”

If approved, the council will be further briefed on the costs and benefits before adopting the policy.

But council staff are asking for clarification and have requested the council reconsiders changing the freeze to focus on the total inner CBD income instead of the RID for two years after its assessment found the plan could be “unachievable”.

The concern is the Business – Inner CBD rating income could remain the same for an undetermined number of years, and therefore would provide no financial relief for ratepayers.

The council staff is asking that a resolution be made that freezes the Business – Inner CBD total income for two years following next year’s 20 per cent decrease and that it is reviewed when the next Auditor General valuations are received.