Ballina mayor Phillip Silver.
Ballina mayor Phillip Silver.

Mayor flies into private jet storm

BALLINA mayor Phillip Silver has defended the use of a private jet to fly eight Northern Rivers civic leaders to and from a conference in Dubbo.

The chartered jet, which was organised by Ballina Shire Council staff, ferried Cr Silver and the council’s general manager, Paul Hickey, the mayor of Richmond Valley, Col Sullivan, its general manager, and senior managers of Richmond River County Council and Rous Water to and from the local government officers meeting on Wednesday and Thursday.

The jet had cost just 30 to 40% more than commercial flights for the group, Cr Silver said, “but the offset was that officers were away from their desks for two days instead of four, and only had to worry about one night’s accommodation instead of two or three”.

It was not uncommon for councils to use a charter plane to get to an out-of-the- way place, Mr Silver said.

“This is the kind of resource sharing that the conference was about,” he said.

Every local council in NSW attended the Dubbo event and each of them, with the possible exception of Sydney City, faced the same problem – underfunding, Cr Silver said.