Redland councillors ease regulations on training and trip expenses

REGULATIONS: Cr Murray Elliott is not keen on the easing of council regulations on councillor travel and training.

REGULATIONS: Cr Murray Elliott is not keen on the easing of council regulations on councillor travel and training.

REDLAND City councillors have removed the need for council approval for a host of domestic training and local government trips.

Amendments approved by councillors at this week’s general meeting will see expenses for many core training and local government meetings moved under councillors’ discretionary training budgets.

This will obviate the need for council approval.

Councillors also approved mayor Karen Williams’ attendance at the Asia Pacific Cities Summit in South Korea in September, a lord mayoral mission to China, a visit to Redland’s sister city, Qinhuangdao and for her to attend the Council of Mayors business mission to Singapore in July.

The Council of Mayor’s South East Queensland will cover most costs.

All but one councillor voted in support of the trip and amendment to expenses regulations for them to attend various local government tours and conferences.

Cr Murray Elliott questioned the value of such trips, saying debate favouring the idea was no more than a councillor love-in.

“I’ve just been sitting back and enjoying the warmth,’’ he said. “...I can’t support this. It’s just me.”

Cr Elliott said he doubted that there was much that could not be learnt about places by searching the internet.

He said although Cr Williams Korean trip costs might be covered by the council of mayors, Redlands had to contribute to that organisation to be a member.

Deputy mayor Wendy Boglary said when she first started on council she had not realised the benefit of such trips.

She now realised they were of significant value in terms of councillors’ education and decision making.

Cr Julie Talty said it was difficult to quantify the benefits of things like sister city agreements but she was confident that Cr Williams was switched on about how to promote Redlands and never missed an opportunity to do so.

Cr Paul Bishop said Asia was on the rise and it was imperative that Redlands and south-east Queensland were part of that story.

Cr Williams said she took any such trips extremely seriously, they were hard work and if anyone wanted to probe what occurred they need look no further than the council website which included lengthy reports.