Geoff Helisma, Clarence Valley Independent
Clarence Valley’s new mayor, Ian Tiley, requested that his acceptance speech be included in the minutes of the inaugural January 11 meeting of the new Clarence Valley Council (CVC).
Speaking on behalf of the ‘team’, Cr Tiley’s speech now stands as a manifesto that all electors will be able to refer to when measuring the new council’s performance.
“This will be a time to better engage the community on important decisions council is considering – before decisions are taken,” Cr Tiley said in conclusion to his speech.
“A time to reinvigorate our dialogue with the community, to reach out to them, and to bring the community with us on this journey.
“A time to protect and improve council’s reputation.
“Vitally, it will be a time to reimagine the Clarence Valley and all that its future can be.
“Our stewardship will lead that re-imagining.”
Mayor Ian Tiley’s speech is published with some minor edits.
This is the beginning of a new era for Clarence Valley Council (CVC).
The governing body has been elected with the task of governing effectively.
To do that we will require timely information provision from our executive staff, who must work closely with the council [councillors].
I seek change to a more ‘can do’ attitude – not about why we cannot do, but how we can help our constituents achieve. We need to be more attuned and responsive to the people’s needs.
The tasks of governing will be the council’s responsibility and the role of the acting general manager (AGM), and her staff will be administering and supporting the governing body and its decisions.
We have a special staff team at CVC some of whom I have worked closely with in the past, and for whom I have the greatest respect. I look forward to again working closely with these special people and all CVC staff, within the boundaries of the code of conduct.
We, as your council, will strive that our community is viable and vibrant and that our environment and biodiversity is protected and enhanced, so that we can look our future generations in the eye and say we tried our best.
Improving the trust and confidence of the Clarence community will be a very high priority. We commit to transparency and openness, and thereby, community trust and confidence in CVC, which belongs to the people we are privileged to represent. We must always fight for accountability and good governance.
We will be about policy setting and continuous policy review. Our staff will be enablers of our policy decisions.
I intend that councillors and senior staff visit all towns and villages on Saturdays over the next few months and again when we consult on the operational plan and budget in May/June. We will also conduct ‘town hall’ style meetings in Grafton, Maclean, Yamba and Iluka. We want to connect and listen.
This will be for me, a full-time role. I will be in Grafton or Maclean office every day, but you don’t need to come to a council office to meet me. I will meet constituents anywhere. I pledge to commit to the role of mayor, all my energy, experience and capacity.
My door will be open to all. No exceptions. My colleagues and I will regularly be at coffee shops and public spaces to have informal chats with you. Genuine community engagement will be front and centre.
My eight colleagues will form a list of guest speakers to address and liaise with the diverse local community groups, organisations and local radio stations. They will convey council’s important messages, but, most importantly, will listen to you. This will truly be a team effort.
I will meet each councillor regularly and individually. First meetings will be held over the next couple of weeks so that I can ascertain the hopes, goals and aspirations of each councillor. I am requesting that the AGM meet separately for an hour per month with each councillor.
We will not hand back hard-won grants. Rather we will search for grant opportunities. We will meet and work closely and cooperatively with our state and commonwealth parliamentary representatives.
I will advocate and seek council support for further structural and organisational reform over time and an external review of senior management.
We will receive a full review of the CVC’s financial situation and we will explore opportunities for further financial reform to ensure long term financial sustainability.
There is a real need for cultural and attitudinal reform; work practices need review and modernising. We will support the now mandatory service levels review, to ascertain the relevance and need of services and whether greater efficiencies can be achieved.
There needs to be a continual review and updating of CVC’s suite of policies. Review of roadwork priorities and a roads inspection should occur as soon as possible.
Council will resurrect the CV Aboriginal Consultative Committee to give the 5 CV Aboriginal communities direct access to the council.
We will review the CVC committee system as an immediate priority. Council will endeavour to provide greater support for tourism and economic development.
Turn-around times for DAs can be improved. Fast-tracking of straightforward developments is important to improving local job prospects, especially for our young people. I support the council being more proactive in terms of supporting jobs creation.
I will bring a new style to conduct of our council meetings; and seek to streamline and modernise the council meeting cycle.
I will be encouraging healthy and respectful councillor debate in council meetings on the issues we face.
We, as the governing body, wish to be more welcoming and supportive of people seeking to invest in our LGA, as well as to existing businesses. I will introduce planning inspection site visits for all substantial DAs and other contentious matters.
We the councillor team are up for the challenges ahead. I greatly value and support teamwork. It is vital. It is about the council team – not me, not the individual.
Points at a glance
- Pledge to lead a unified council attuned to community needs and desires
- Endeavour to improve the wider community’s trust by being more transparent and accountable
- Initiate combined staff and councillor visits to villages on Saturdays
- The mayor’s door is always open, no exceptions, and will endeavour to ensure councillors are easily accessible as part of the ‘team’
- Commission an external review of senior staff
- Explore opportunities for further financial reform
- Resurrect the CV Aboriginal Consultative Committee
- Introduce planning inspection site visits for all substantial DAs
- Initiate further structural and organisational reform over time
- Commission an external review of senior management
This article appeared in the Clarence Valley Independent, 19 January 2022.