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The tourism committee that almost wasn’t

Clarence valley Council (CVC) has called for eight people – six current tourism operators and two with “wider tourism industry experience” – to become members of the council’s reconstituted tourism advisory committee.
The former committee came to an end due to lack of interest and other undisclosed issues; the new one only made it to fruition on the casting vote of mayor Jim Simmons at the June 27 council meeting.
At that meeting, councillors Simmons and Greg Clancy supported the motion brought by Cr Karen Toms, seconded by Cr Debrah Novak.
Councillor Lysaught was absent, and councillors Williamson, Kingsley, Ellem and Baker voted against the idea.
Curiously, despite voting against reforming the committee and being the most strident opponent, Cr Andrew Baker, who, at the June council meeting said about the industry’s involvement in the previous committee, “they say nothing and don’t offer to contribute anything”, nominated and is one of three councillors on the committee.
The others are councillors Toms and Clancy – Cr Novak lost out when three of the four nominees were drawn from a hat.
During debate, both councillors Toms and Baker described the former committee’s constitution as “awful”.
However, only minor changes were made to the old constitution.
The italicised words are new: 4.1 The Advisory Committee will provide advice to Council on the development of policy and strategy relating to tourism throughout the Clarence Valley with particular emphasis on the recommendations of initiatives and strategies by no later than 30 June 2018 to assist Council achieve full cost recovery from tourism promotion related activities.
At 6.1.2 in the constitution, the old constitution stated: Membership will be sought on the basis of a commitment to tourism in the Clarence Valley local government area and, generally, will comprise a maximum six (6) industry representatives from a broad range of industry stakeholders.
The new constitution states: Membership will be sought on the basis of an active tourism business involvement as a tourism operator in the Clarence Valley local government area and, generally, will comprise:
• a maximum six (6) industry representatives being representative of tourism operators in the Clarence, with consideration given to financial members of ‘My Clarence Valley Business’ or other collaborative marketing arrangements managed by Council;
• and, a maximum of two (2) being representative of wider tourism industry experience.
Council staff reported to the August council meeting: “The Committee is advisory only; it does not have the authority to commit Council action or funds.
“In this way it complements other successful industry engagement initiatives such as the Tourism and Hospitality Cluster (over 80 participants to date) and the associated industry and hospitality Facebook group (>150 engaged) and is just one of the methods used to assist Council’s engagement and delivery of tourism services.”
The Independent would have liked to have spoken with councillors Baker and Toms, to seek their opinions on whether or not the constitution was still “awful”, and to discover why Cr Baker nominated for a committee he previously denounced and subsequently voted against, however, the tourism advisory committee’s constitution states: “Members are not to speak to the media in their capacity as Committee members.”
Industry nominations for the committee close at 4pm on September 25.