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Byron Shire
July 20, 2024

Byron Council’s business committee struggles to attract members

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Council’s Business and Industry Committee looks set to continue without any representation from the business community, after the response to entice the business community to its meetings was ‘poor’.

Additionally, Council staff have declined to name the community business member/s who attended the March 30 ‘workshop’ that followed the committee meeting.

The committee, led by Mayor Michael Lyon, Crs Alan Hunter and Asren Pugh, is one of 16 that councillors and staff hold with members of the community. All are voluntary positions, and advise Council around planning, environmental, heritage, arts, and traffic matters, for example.    

Mystery biz members

The Echo asked Council staff for more details around the last Business and Industry Committee meeting held, after the minutes did not disclose what member/s of the community were invited.

The March 30 minutes say at the end of the councillor/staff meeting: ‘At this stage, invited business representatives joined the committee to participate in a workshop to discuss the Business, Industry and Visitor Economy Strategy.’

The Echo asked for the name/s of those business reps, and ‘Why isn’t an agenda published on what they discuss with councillors and staff?’

Director Sustainable Environment and Economy, Shannon Burt, told The Echo, ‘The committee was traditionally only councillors, then, at the last meeting in 2022, it was agreed to include some business representatives via an Expression of Interest (EOI) and to update the constitution. The response to the EOI was poor, with only one nomination received, but the constitution was changed.

‘At its last meeting, the committee decided to go back to its previous model (councillors only) and to invite business representatives to attend workshops on the development of current key projects; currently the Business, Industry and Visitor Economy Strategy. 

Constitution 

‘This was in keeping with the change to the constitution which states: “To achieve this [committee’s purpose and objectives], different formats for each meeting will be used such as field days and workshops with guest speakers and industry leaders; and the Committee Councillors and staff set the theme and invite the leading business people, relevant speakers, experts and attendees for each meeting”.’

‘At its next meeting, Council will vote to adopt the minutes, and the constitution will then be updated to remove community representatives’.

Burt alluded to agendas and minutes being available for committee meetings, but not for ‘workshops’.


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