Town flags regional council concerns

Taylar AmoniniNorth West Telegraph

In a broadside to the Pilbara Regional Council, Town of Port Hedland councillors will tonight decide whether to cut funding to the organisation and whether to request it move from Perth to the Pilbara.

Following concerns the PRC model is not delivering as much as it could, the motion for tonight’s Town meeting has recommended the council make drastic changes to the nature of the relationship.

Officers recommend to reduce funding to the PRC from $220,000 annually to $150,000 as well as proposing a motion at the next PRC meeting to relocate its operations to one of the constituent local government offices.

The motion would also ask for a review of staffing, reaffirmation of the PRC agreement and require all lobbying and advocacy activities undertaken to have the formal support of all four member councils.

The agenda for tonight’s meeting says concerns had been raised about the PRC’s advocacy role with “the chief executive playing an active role in political lobbying throughout the State election campaign, and also meeting with stakeholders in the Town of Port Hedland without ensuring their messaging was first aligned with the Town’s”.

“The Town’s key aspirations for the PRC going forward are for it to enhance responsiveness to the needs of the constituent councils, focus on regional procurement projects for priority services, significantly reduce its advocacy role and allow advocacy only where there is unanimous support from all four councils,” the agenda read.

It also said the changes would eliminate the commissioning of reports and allow the PRC to focus on services that constituent councils could not deliver individually, or where significant economies of scale could be leveraged. PRC chief executive officer Tony Friday said it was for the Town to determine their spending priorities. However, he said the PRC had been and continued to be a passionate advocate for the whole Pilbara region.

“The PRC has continued to dramatically enhance its capacity and capability over the past five years and attracted more than $10 million in leveraged funding for the region,” he said.

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