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Resignation call in fractured council

20 December 2006

by Rob Bennett and Jayne Rickard, Busselton~Dunsborough Mail

Busselton Shire Council has become fractured over the Corruption and Crime Commission investigation into Smiths Beach.

One councillor says three councillors called before the CCC should resign and another believed the public no longer had any faith in the council.

Cr Don Hanran-Smith said at a meeting between councillors last week that some should resign.

When asked about it yesterday he named three councillors.

He said Crs John Triplett, Anne Ryan and deputy shire president Pippa Reid should hand in their resignations from the council.

Cr Hanran-Smith said he would apologise if the three resigned and it was found they had nothing to answer to in relation to the CCC investigation.

He had based his call for their resignations on what he had read in the CCC transcripts and the effect it was having on the morale of the council and the perception of Busselton ratepayers.

"If they don't resign, then I think they should take as much leave of absence as they can," he said.

Cr Ryan said she was getting tired of having to defend herself.

"Let's make judgments after the CCC findings," she said.

Cr triplett said it was a democracy and Cr Hanran-Smith was entitled to his opinion.

Cr Reid said she had no comment to make.

Evidence of how divided the council has become over the CCC investigation has been further illustrated by Cr Helen Shervington.

She believed the community did not have any trust in the council and said the last twelve to eighteen months had been particularly hard for her.

"In one small way I feel it's been worthwhile hanging in there, as I was not connected with the many lobbyists who were pushing the advantage of developers and not the community of Busselton," she said.

"I suppose, unlike State Government, council has no capacity to control the appointments itself. When a council's working as a team it's fine, when it's fractured it's very difficult.

"I know I personally considered resigning because I don't believe the community has any faith in council and I've been very unhappy with everything I've seen.

"But if you go away, it doesn't mean the problem will go away. I think the fact that council has continued to function with the pressure it's been under is saying a lot.

"There are so many big issues facing Busselton and in the event of perhaps the Minister dismissing council the issue for the community would be that there was no community voice. At this particular time in this town that would be very serious."

Copyright 2006 by Rural Press Ltd. This report is for information only. No charge for such use is made and the material is not being used for commercial purposes. The text has not been modified from the original report.

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