Deputy Mayor Ross Bartley said despite the lengthy discussion that had been held, he was still not convinced it was the best way to go.
Deputy Mayor Ross Bartley said despite the lengthy discussion that had been held, he was still not convinced it was the best way to go.

Session on panel awaits discussion

AFTER one briefing session and a lengthy discussion Southern Downs councillors have decided to discuss their need for a development assessment panel at another briefing session.

At Wednesday's general meeting councillors were presented with a report describing how the new development assessment panel would work, who would be involved and why it was needed.

The panel's purpose was to help reduce delays in processing development applications.

All councillors were to be involved in the panel, which would meet once a week, for a trial period of three months.

CEO Andrew Roach said the report was based on discussions held during a briefing session.

"It has now been presented to you to move forward and decide," he said.

Deputy Mayor Ross Bartley said despite the lengthy discussion that had been held, he was still not convinced it was the best way to go.

"I think the council need to move forward in another direction apart from a DA panel.

"I believe there are better options out there.

"I won't be supporting this," he said.

However, as Cr Meiklejohn pointed out, doing nothing was not an option.

"The council embarked on a direction in the change of the meeting format with no more committee meetings," he said.

"I am keen to find out alternatives, but in the interim we need to do something."

Cr Pennisi said during a Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) conference, held after the briefing session, a pilot program aimed at reducing development application assessment times was discussed.

"I think we should join the pilot program," he said.

"The initial finding with the pilot program so far was a reduction of 60 days for an application."

Cr Pennisi suggested inviting the LGAQ to a briefing session to share all the information with the other councillors.

Crs Jo McNally, Meiklejohn and Denise Ingram voted against the decision to bring the matter back up in another briefing session.



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