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Mayors regain power

POWER BACK TO COUNCIL: South Burnett councillors Keith Campbell, Cheryl Dalton, Deb Palmer, Barry Green and Damien Tessmann along with Mayor Wayne Kratzmann have welcomed the news local councils will get the power back to make decisions on local issues.
POWER BACK TO COUNCIL: South Burnett councillors Keith Campbell, Cheryl Dalton, Deb Palmer, Barry Green and Damien Tessmann along with Mayor Wayne Kratzmann have welcomed the news local councils will get the power back to make decisions on local issues. Danielle Lowe

MAYORS have been given the green light to take control of their regions again.

This week Local Government Minister David Crisafulli announced the biggest change in local government after a new act was past.

It is a move that has been backed by South Burnett Mayor Wayne Kratzmann and his councillors.

"These changes have been flagged for some time," Cr Kratzmann said.

"The changes to the act have been positive and now the council can get on with making the right decisions for the region."

Cr Kratzmann said Mr Crisafulli told mayors they were now the first citizen of their areas and would be held more accountable to ratepayers.

"In the past, if we had an issue with a piggery wanting to expand, for example, the process would be decided on the size of the expansion," he said.

"That process was quite time consuming.

"But because the council is more familiar with the local area we are able to make these decisions without them being tied up in red tape."

He said another responsibility bestowed upon him was handing down the council budget.

But Cr Kratzmann said he would still consult with the financial department and maintain a close working relationship with the other councillors.

"The changes won't change the way we operate at council. This is a positive step forward and now local governments have finally been acknowledged," he said.

"Local governments are better suited to making decisions for their communities."

Mr Crisafulli said the previous act made councils less responsive to their communities because they were too busy reporting to George St in Brisbane.

"Whether it's Brisbane City Council having to pay $5000 for tabling the minutes in the wrong order, or regional mayors having to keep pointless logs of requests to their CEOs, we can do a lot better," he said. "Voters are back in the driver's seat with their councils, rather than bureaucrats and the State Government. Big or small, country or city, the message was the same: stop the stupid rules and regulations."

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