DOUGLAS Shire Council has voted down a 2% pay increase recommended by the Local Government Remuneration Commission.

After adopting the 2020-21 Annual Budget, Councillors unanimously agreed to knock back their pay rise to send the right message to ratepayers.

Douglas Shire Mayor Michael Kerr said the decision was an easy one for his team to make.

“Our community is hurting and it would be unreasonable for their elected members get a pay rise,” he said.

“This is common sense and a responsible decision that is in line with what our ratepayers expect.”

The decision will save ratepayers more than $6,500.

Read the full Council report here. 

Council to consider Bally Hooley Steam Train

COUNCIL staff will explore possibility of taking over the Bally Hooley Steam Railway.

The John Morris Family Group recently contacted Council to discuss the possibility of Council operating the tourist railway

Council Officers will undertake an asset and financial due diligence analysis before developing a report for consideration at a future Ordinary Meeting of Council.

The Bally Hooley Steam Railway is recognised as an iconic piece of the Shire’s history and is favoured by tourists as a “must do”.

Read the full Council report here. 

Port Shorts to hit Aussie TV screens

The big screen at Rex Smeal Park will be broadcast across the country later this year.

Douglas Shire Council resolved to increase its funding of the Port Shorts Film Festival to $20,000 and provide an extra $9000 to lock in the national broadcast.

The event provides economic benefits by attracting filmmakers and audiences, with the 2020 fixture is expected to draw significant value through television and digital media coverage.

Port Shorts organisers intend to present a free or low-cost ticketed event to assist in the social and community resilience aspects of COVID 19 recovery.

The event is scheduled for October 16-17.

Read the full Council report  here. 

Council hands Blue Pools to Traditional Owners

An indigenous story place located in the Daintree Rainforest will be returned to Traditional Owners.

Douglas Shire Council resolved to relinquish joint trusteeship of Blue Pools, located on Flame Tree Road, to the Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation.

It is considered that Jabalbina and the Traditional Owners are best placed to apply appropriate levels of control in regard to the Blue Pools Reserve, which is registered on the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Register.

Blue Pools is an Aboriginal Story Place associated with “woman’s business”.

As part of the 2020-21 Operational Plan, Council has also committed to introduce a position for an Indigenous Liaison Officer to work within Council to identify employment opportunities for Indigenous people.

Read the full Council report here.