Bill for flights sparks debate

Taylar AmoniniNorth West Telegraph

Councillors clashed at last week’s council meeting, debating for more than 45 minutes about who should foot the bill for flights to a Kununurra forum in May.

The final public agenda item at the meeting involved the Town of Port Hedland’s presence at the joint Kimberley/Pilbara/NT Local Government Forum.

In the original officer recommendation, it was put forward that council not send any delegates to the 2017 forum, but Councillor Julie Arif put forward an amendment which was agreed upon by all councillors.

Cr Arif’s amendment included sending two delegates to the forum as Town representatives, who must submit a written report within seven days of returning and verbally brief members of council and staff on key points at the first briefing thereafter.

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While councillors agreed to the amendments, debate began when Cr Lincoln Tavo further amended the officer recommendation by requesting councillors who wish to go pay for themselves.

Cr Tavo believed despite there being room in the budget for flight costs, the council needed to keep ratepayers in mind.

“I’m all for it if you want to go,” he said.

“ I think spending any money of the Town is money put better elsewhere.”

“Any money not spent goes back into the ratepayers’ kitty, and that’s what we should be trying to do.”

After a long debate about who should hold the financial responsibility of flight costs, councillors agreed to take the costs from the councillors’ travel budget.

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