Councillors reject newspaper expansion

Queanbeyan Councillors have voted against a recommendation to strip The Queanbeyan Age and The Chronicle of council advertisements and redirect the money to the production of a new fortnightly publication.

Queanbeyan Councillors have voted against a recommendation to strip The Queanbeyan Age and The Chronicle of council advertisements and redirect the money to the production of a new fortnightly publication.

QUEANBEYAN City Council voted against establishing a council-run fortnightly newspaper after a heated debate in the chamber on Wednesday night.

The plan included a recommendation to strip The Queanbeyan Age and The Chronicle of council advertisements and redirect the money to the production of a fortnightly publication of six black-and-white A4 pages.

Councillor Trudy Taylor, whose family worked for many years editing The Queanbeyan Age, introduced amendments and moved a motion that the council review content from the only two NSW local government newspapers from Tweed Shire Council and Lismore Council, and hold a meeting with Fairfax Media before embarking on a year-long trial of the proposed publication.

However, six of the 10 councillors rejected the plan. Councillor Brian Brown opposed the motion saying the move was politically motivated. "It was suggested to me the newspaper should be called the Mayoral Mail," he said. "This is all political. I don't trust a council-run newspaper would be frank or fearless."

Despite the plan to register the publication as a newspaper, Queanbeyan City mayor Tim Overall said it should be regarded as a "newsletter" communicating more broadly with 21,000 households in the area.

Cr Sue Whelan said she disagreed with Cr Overall's assertion that the move was purely about sharing information more effectively with the community.

"You're talking about taking advertising revenue from small local papers, small businesses in this community," she said.

And Councillor Jamie Cregan told The Queanbeyan Age on Thursday morning that the proposal was "well outside of Council's core business."

The report before the council noted the current financial difficulties facing print media nationally and Cr Brown queried why the council would consider entering into print media itself, especially with no experience.

After the debate, the council resolved with a 7-3 majority vote on a motion put forward by Cr Brown that no further action be taken on the report before it.

- with The Queanbeyan Age

Related stories: Editorial - Queanbeyan's local newspaper

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