(Community Independents candidate)
The question should be asked: ‘Why do councillors continue to include price offered as a criterion for judging tender offers?’
Such an approach will only guarantee that current local operators will be outbid. We have seen it with kayak operators and now with surf schools. There will always be an incentive for outside operators who want to break in to the Byron Bay market to offer more to council under this system forcing out the local business operator. It also sets up a system of price competition where locals and tourists lose out through higher prices being charged to cover the increased costs of licences.
Council should not act like a private corporation set up to maximise profits and screw people. It is a local public authority that is legislated to provide adequate facilities and services to the community. Let’s get real about the current tender system and not review it, let’s fix it. The fact that council applies a ‘gag order’ on tenders only goes to demonstrate that they are scared of a faulty system being exposed by those who suffer from its decisions.
The solution is simple; if people want to provide a service in the shire and it requires council licensing, then charge a set price that is fair and reasonable.
For comparison, the last time I went to renew my driver licence I didn’t have to competitively bid for it, I paid a set price. The criterion restricting the provision of licences is about my capability to drive safely and properly, not about the price I am willing to pay.
If we want to restrict competition in the provision of services in the shire then let’s determine it on criteria that reflect quality of operation and community benefit, not on who has the biggest wallet. A Byron Shire locals preference policy is clearly called for to inform these decisions.