Business Council splits from board

COUNCILLOR Jamie Cregan has confirmed the organisation he chairs, the Queanbeyan Business Council, will no longer be part of the Queanbeyan Development Board.

Cr Cregan said this unanimous decision was made at the QBC's November meeting with the main concern the independence of the QDB from the Queanbeyan City Council.

"The QBC has had long-term doubts about the function of the QBD, we believe it should be an independent body...," he said. 

Cr Cregan said he felt it was difficult for the QDB to objectively evaluate council decisions and criticise them if needed.

He confirmed he would continue to chair the QBC until his elected time of October 2013.

Cr Cregan said this decision had nothing to do with the QCC's recent changes to the membership of the QBD which he described as a "poor decision".

Previously, the QDB membership included two delegates from the QBC and one from the South East Business Enterprise Centre (formerly the Queanbeyan Business Enterprise Centre). 

  These two organisations are chaired by councillors Cregan and Whelan respectively.

However, in his report Mayor Tim Overall wrote having two delegate positions taken up by councillors "has in many ways diminished the opportunities available to other members of the business community to participate".

He also wrote, "the external nomination of councillors to the QBD also creates a significant conflict of interest by those councillors affected.

"Following council decision, councillors will no longer be eligible to be a representative for the QBC or SEBEC on the QBD.

Cr Whelan said she was "disappointed" about the decision after chairing the SEBEC for some years and helping to establish the Queanbeyan Business Awards during that time.

"That's just the way things work and I'm disappointed but it's a council decision and I'll abide by it," she said.

Cr Cregan disagreed with the decision and said it affected the democratic process.

"I think it's a poor decision for council to try and dictate who can and can't be a representative," he said. 

"This is about the democratic process, it's the QBC's decision about who are the best people and most appropriate to represent them."

The council has written to the QBC and the SEBEC inviting each organisation to nominate a delegate to the Queanbeyan Development Board other than a councillor.

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