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Byron Shire
February 4, 2023

Provest’s political point-scoring

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Lynn Dickinson, Pottsville

According to the NSW Government website, ‘under Section 220 of the Local Government Act 1993 (NSW) a council is a body corporate.  That is, by virtue of the Act, councils are corporations. Most recent case law supports the view that councils would, in most circumstances, be trading corporations.’

The Act states that ‘a law of the State applies to and in respect of a council in the same way it applies to and in respect of a body corporate (including a corporation)’.

As a corporation/body corporate, Council would have a right to employ or not employ whoever they like based on what they believe is best for the corporation, ie the community. The Council has opposed the hospital on the state significant farmland Cudgen site in the best interests of the community.  Katie Milne as Mayor is acting in the best interests of the community and reflecting the Council’s right to decide who they employ.  If Council decides not employ entities who are not aligned with their stance on an issue, they have the right to do so.

The Council has plenty of local businesses from which to choose when accepting tenders, so it is appropriate that Council would give preference to those who are aligned with Council’s stance on an issue. After all, the council is the democratically elected voice of the community.

Good on you, Katie Milne, for your attempts to put up a motion for Council to consider in the best interests of the community they represent. As a State MP, I would expect that Geoff Provest should be aware of the above State Government legislation, and that Cr Milne was within her rights to raise this issue with Council and that he is not within his rights to call for her resignation. This looks to me like a political point-scoring play to his National Party supporters.


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  1. Tweed Shires Procurement Policy, which Council must adhere to can be found at : /Procurement%20Policy%20v%201.7%20amended%20and%20adopted%2019%20April%202018.pdf That policy is there to give the more specific guidance on procurement needed to ensure Council is acting as they must in the interests of their residents, ratepayers and the wider community. II find it difficult Lyn to envisage how Council officers would be able to adhere to it if they are obliged to preclude contractors who had worked on the hospital.

    How would they be able to ensure that they obtain value for money; maintain a reputation for fair dealing and that the integrity of the procurement function is beyond reproach; ensure they afford equal opportunities to prospective contractors and suppliers to tender/quote for all goods and services required; maintain impartiality at all times so that no action is taken which could evoke criticism of the Council; and protect the commercial interests of all existing and potential contractors or suppliers; when prospective complying contractors are precluded for reasons unrelated to the procurement at hand?

  2. I quite a fan of yours Lynn.
    But no one is perfect.
    On this score I believe your way out of bounds because it would be an abuse of public power for Katie and/or the Tweed Shire Council to do what you suggest.
    And if they did I would be completely horrified.
    And Geoff Provost has nothing to do with what your on about.
    And your the one on this occasion trying to point score.

    Terry Sharples

  3. The Byron, Tweed and Lismore Councils have passed resolutions to reserve the right to refuse tenders from contractors associated with the Adani coal mine. Similarly the Tweed Council should have the same right to refuse tenders from contractors associated with inappropriate development on state significant farmland.

    • So the Tweed Council has a “right” to ignore the guidelines for tendering that must be followed, to not select the best contractors based on value for money, to deny businesses in the Tweed work on the major construction job in the area? So the Tweed Council can ignore its own procurement guidelines and not maintain a reputation for fair dealing and that the integrity of the procurement function is beyond reproach; not ensure they afford equal opportunities to prospective contractors and suppliers to tender/quote for all goods and services required; not maintain impartiality at all times so that no action is taken which could evoke criticism of the Council; and not protect the commercial interests of all existing and potential contractors or suppliers? How many counts of ethical behaviour do they need to potentially breach before some people realise her intemperate remarks were an attack on local businesses and on good governance of council business dealings?

      But worse – and akin to the Adani tokenism – at its heart it was a threat to use access to public monies to punish people and organisations who hold different views on political matters outside of council’s functions. Milne has backed away from her absurd threat but in the heat of a demo showed her true colours. People tempted to vote Green should consider Milne’s action and the comments of her supporters – the left of the party is redder on the inside than we ever imagined to the point of countenancing punitive censorship of those who do not agree with them.

  4. It seems some think it’s ok for councilors and politicians (some of whom have close relationships with developers) to ignore the needs and concerns of the local community who pay them and who they are supposed to represent. It’s ok for them to destroy our environment and rare, valuable farmland, but the community has no right to protect what is precious.

    So much for democracy.

  5. David Norris, as you are well aware, both councils never kept that resolution & did not even check, if tenderers were also supplying ADANI. You will also know, that the spineless greens council of Byron Bay , backflipped within 24 hours of lodging their change the Australia day motion, when prime minister Scott Morrison, acted immediately & decisively against the council, removing any right for them to receive government grants or provide Australia day celebrations or funding. Spineless & useless V People Power. You get it right?

  6. A very uninformed and narrow-minded opinion that ignores that the Council is regulated by the Local Government Act and a Code of Conduct.
    Recent comments by the GM draw attention to the financial and legal matters associated with a motion that Milne has before Council and repeatedly state that “Council has no role to play”.
    Involving Council in such matters might therefore be the use of Council resources for personal or party matters which may be contrary to regulations.


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