Mayor’s bid for meet location change met with mixed response

MAYOR ELECT: Former police officer Des Noll will be the new mayor of Wattle Range Council after securing 55pc of the vote at the local government election.

MIXED RESULT: The notice of motion submitted by Wattle Range Mayor Des Noll OAM to the February monthly council meeting was amended.

A RARE move by Wattle Range Mayor Des Noll OAM to submit a notice of motion to Tuesday’s monthly council meeting in Millicent met with a mixed result.

Mr Noll had proposed council’s April monthly meeting be held in Penola, but he was opposed by the majority of elected members.

However, there was support for an amended motion from councillor John Drew to have an informal council gathering at Penola later in 2019.

Mr Noll’s motion sought to have the April 9 meeting at the John Shaw Nielsen Meeting Room at the Penola Visitor Information Centre.

It was strongly backed by the two elected members who represent Riddoch Ward which is based at Penola.

According to Councillor Rick Paltridge who seconded the mayoral motion, the last meeting at Penola was held in 2009.

He said it would be an ideal opportunity for Penola residents to see how Wattle Range Council functions.

According to Cr Dean Burrow, it was a forward-thinking move by the previous Labor State Government to hold State Cabinet meetings in regional areas to meet people.

Cr Burrow said Penola was the second-largest town in the council area.

“It is an attractive and pleasant place to visit,” Cr Burrow said.

“We can meet locals and show our flag.

“Previous mayor Peter Gandolfi worked to do away with the east-west divide in the council area.

“We are working together and not fighting.”

Cr Burrow said Penola High School could make a presentation to the meeting and its hospitality students could cater for the evening meal.

Cr Peter Dunnicliff was a strong opponent of the mayoral motion and said the suggested meeting place was too small.

“It is not necessary unless there is an important reason,” Cr Dunnicliff said.

“The last one at Penola in 2009 was when we discussed the bypass.

“Millicent is our meeting chamber and it would make extra work for staff.”

He said it would set a precedent as council might have to meet at places like Beachport and Glencoe.

Cr Kevin McGrath said he could not see the point of the meeting move.

According to Cr McGrath, the matter was discussed during the previous council term and there were problems with logistics.

Cr Sharon Cox said the mayoral motion made it sound like Penola was more important than places like Kalangadoo and Nangwarry.

Mr Noll said it was about being involved in the district and the feedback he had received was to go to Penola.

“It is not my intention to go to every corner of Wattle Range Council,” Mayor Noll said.

“I am aware of the impost on staff.”

Cr John Drew said he was worried about setting a precedent with council obliged to hold meetings in its 12 other towns as well as the issue of access to computers during meetings.

“There must be a reason,” Cr Drew said.

In moving his amendment, Cr Drew said an informal gathering at Penola would allow council to interact with local people.

He said such interaction was successfully achieved at the recent saleyards forum in Millicent.

His amendment was seconded by Cr Dale Price who described it as a “good compromise”.

Cr Price also said the saleyards forum was a successful format.

Cr Drew’s amendment attracted majority support and subsequently became the successful motion.