City councillors head to Port Campbell for two-day conference

WARRNAMBOOL City councillors and senior officers will head off on a two-day conference at Port Campbell later this month to focus their thoughts on key policy issues.

It will be an all-expenses paid event including an overnight stay in shared accommodation.

Similar outings have been held in previous years by Warrnambool City and several other of the region’s councils hold similar talkfests.

However one ratepayer, Jan Noreika of Dennington, has challenged the need to outlay money on such events.

“Just because they can, should they?” she told The Standard.

“What is wrong with using our own council office to carry out whatever they have to do?”

Warrnambool chief executive Bruce Anson said 13 people would travel to Port Campbell, including the seven councillors, five senior officers and a facilitator.

“The two-day conference is a workshop that will cover councillor inductions, budgeting and the council plan,” he said.

“It removes councillors from the daily distraction of life at home so they can focus on tasks including the development of the council plan, a critically-important document.

“This type of workshop is standard practice for many councils.

“The final cost will depend on numbers attending, but the workshop will include an overnight stay in shared accommodation.”

Corangamite Shire Council held a two-day induction conference at Dunkeld last year, Moyne Shire Council held workshops at Port Fairy Yacht Club rooms and at Woolsthorpe, Glenelg Shire Council held an off-site workshop to discuss its four-year plan, Colac Otway Shire Council held a two-day workshop in the local library while Southern Grampians Shire Council held its inductions in-house.

A Glenelg spokeswoman said off-site meetings allowed staff and councillors time on issues that may not be adequately addressed in  onsite  meeting timeframes. 

“From time to time Glenelg Shire Council may hold strategic planning forums at off-site locations, in order to come together and focus on key strategic challenges, such as the council plan,”  she said. 

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