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    Minister for Local Government, Community Recovery and Resilience
    The Honourable David Crisafulli

    Livingstone to vote on de-amalgamation

    Minister for Local Government, Community Recovery and Resilience
    The Honourable David Crisafulli

    Thursday, December 06, 2012

    Livingstone to vote on de-amalgamation

    Livingstone residents will go to the polls to decide if they return to their old shire.

    Local Government Minister David Crisafulli said while Livingstone had some financial challenges, residents should get to vote on whether the proposed rate hikes are worth a return to their old shire boundaries.

    “The Government has always been firm that despite the brutality of the forced amalgamations in 2008, we would prefer regional councils to work,” Mr Crisafulli said.

    “We’ve also said we’ll give communities the opportunity to vote where there’s a chance a viable council could be created.

    “But it needs to be done with all the facts on the table, and people will have to make a judgement about whether reverting to an independent council is worth the cost.”

    The Boundaries Commissioner Col Meng handed Mr Crisafulli the report on November 28, which recommended only Noosa go to a referendum.

    Mr Crisafulli has decided that Noosa, Livingstone, Mareeba and Douglas will all go to a vote, but Isis will not because of financial restrictions.

    “In line with my views that whenever possible it should be local communities that control their destinies, I have referred Livingstone to the final stage of a public poll,” Mr Crisafulli said.

    “I am being upfront with this community in saying that at the end of it there will be added costs.

    “It will be up to them to decide if the community gain is worth the financial pain.”

    For Livingstone, Queensland Treasury Corporation (QTC) found the initial cost to de-amalgamate would be $9,983,000 or an extra $429 per ratepayer in the first year.

    There would also be ongoing costs of an extra $194 per ratepayer each year thereafter, rising with inflation.

    Mr Meng and QTC have spent the past two months working with proponents, stakeholders and Rockhampton Regional Council to work out all of the costs involved.

    The Commissioner’s report included:

    ·         wages for a Mayor and Councillors

    ·         wages for council staff

    ·         cost of equipment and IT

    ·         cost of de-amalgamation to the remaining council

    ·         cost of conducting a referendum

    ·         ongoing costs, such as annual licencing fees and insurance

     

    “No doubt there are costs, but if the community feels that the pain in the pocket is worth the price for an independent council area, they’ll get their old council back,” Mr Crisafulli said.

    Mr Crisafulli rated the likelihood of each proposed new council achieving a sustainable future:

    Council

    Chances of long-term viability

    Noosa

    Good

    Livingstone

    Medium

    Mareeba

    Unlikely

    Douglas

    Highly unlikely

    Isis

    Nil

    Only residents in the former council area will vote, with a referendum to be held in the first quarter of 2013. Voting will be compulsory.

    The Queensland Boundaries Commissioner reports on each area are at Boundaries reports or http://www.dlg.qld.gov.au/bc/.

     

    [ENDS] 6 December, 2012

    Media Contact: Andrew Longmire 0418 216 627