Mixed feelings about economic advisory board plan

GLADSTONE Regional Council seems to have a different impression of how its economic development workshop went on Monday, saying its proposed strategy drew an "impressive response".

However, the response of some people there, and of the wider Gladstone community, begged to differ.

The council is preparing a new economic development strategy to replace the one formed in 2010.

At the meeting on Monday, it presented a draft report outlining a proposal for the new strategy, which included setting up a paid economic advisory board.

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The council's principal industry advisor Fred de Waard told the workshop participants the new board, the Economic Futures Group, would be a collective of experts providing advice on different projects.

He said the council would play a lead role in facilitating those projects, but explicitly stated it would not be the ultimate decision maker, and neither would the new Economic Futures Group board.

There was concern at the workshop the board would become a talkfest in which nothing was achieved.

The proposal also received a mixed response on The Observer's Facebook page.

Coralee Taylor said it would be a waste of ratepayers' money.

"Councillors are elected to make decisions on behalf of the community in the best interests of the community," she wrote.

"So do the job you are elected and paid to do. Not make more jobs for your mates, and stop wasting my rates money."

Kaya Elkins said: "As long as it's not an overpaid advisory board that puts their own interests over that of the greater community."

Laurie Sch it was time for the council to grow up and spend rates money wisely.

"Do the damn job you're paid for. Maybe your positions should be outsourced."

In a media release issued by the council, Gladstone Mayor Gail Sellers said 35 people had participated in the workshop, "providing a clear message supporting council's proposal that it play a stronger facilitator role in the region's economic development".

"There was significant discussion regarding the decision making framework how it would work and how the desired outcomes would be achieved," Cr Sellers said.

"Overall, the discussion at the workshop was frank and constructive, providing helpful feedback regarding the initial draft and how it can be further developed."

The outcomes from the meeting will now be consolidated by Michael Campbell from consultants the AEC Group, before being discussed at length at a meeting on July 22 and receiving further consideration by the council.

What do you think about Gladstone council's suggestion that an advisory board be set up to provide advice on projects, in an effort to boost the region's economic future? http://ow.ly/Pzm5e

Posted by The Observer on Tuesday, July 14, 2015