Coober Pedy News
       No. 56                                                   14 May  2004

Archived copy


Applause for a public servant

Coober Pedy has been buzzing for weeks with rumours, innuendos, and criticism, of the District Council of Coober Pedy and the South Australian Government, about the latest Town Development Plan. 

Many residents still vividly remember when, at a public meeting held years ago in the old Town Hall, the overwhelming vote of those present was NOT IN FAVOUR of the establishment of Local Government. But as we all know, the vote was disregarded, and the District Council of Coober Pedy got born. 

Now, any time beaurocracy rears it's head, everyone talks about that day and moans and groans. And the history of meetings of the Coober Pedy Miners Association over the years is one of chaotic meetings of who can shout the loudest, and general lack of respect for meeting procedures. Such is the 'independent' nature of many opal miners.

So at the approach of the day of the public meeting on May 5, on the draft town development plan, people were wondering what the outcome would be - will the man from 'down south' have to get an escort from the Council Chambers; will the Mayor and Councillors be able to effectively conduct a meeting?

On the evening of May 5, the advertised time of the meeting passed with as yet no-one from the public in attendance. But outside the chambers were many cars, and many groups of people, deeply involved in beaurocracy bashing.

Finally, the Chief Executive Officer, Trevor McLeod, got through to those outside the building that the meeting starting time had passed.

In they came, filling the rear seats first. Then the front row was filled. All the seats were taken. More sat on tables. Some couldn't fit in the chambers and stood at the entrance.


The meeting turned out to be an amazing balance of the people getting their message across, the convenors listening, and applause for the Council's out of town consultant Garth Heynen.

Surely this was an historic public meeting of Coober Pedy residents and representatives of government.