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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    JOINT STATEMENT
    Premier and Minister for Trade
    The Honourable Peter Beattie
    Minister for Local Government, Planning and Sport
    The Honourable Andrew Fraser

    PREMIER WELCOMES LOCAL GOVERNMENT REFORM REPORT

    JOINT STATEMENT

    Premier and Minister for Trade
    The Honourable Peter Beattie

    Minister for Local Government, Planning and Sport
    The Honourable Andrew Fraser

    Friday, July 27, 2007

    PREMIER WELCOMES LOCAL GOVERNMENT REFORM REPORT

    Premier Peter Beattie has welcomed an independent report which recommends significant reform to the system of local government in Queensland.

    The Premier and Minister for Local Government took delivery of the report from Local Government Reform Commission Chair Bob Longland this morning.

    Mr Beattie said the two volume 455-page report recommends boundary changes and amalgamations which reduce the number of Councils in the State from 156 to 72.

    “This report is the foundation for creating stronger councils for a growing Queensland,” Mr Beattie said.

    Recommendations include:

    • Reducing existing councils from 156 to 72.

    • Reducing the number of Mayors or Chairpersons from 156 to 72.

    • Reducing the number of Councillors from 1094 to 454.

    • This is a total reduction of 724 politicians.

    • Creating a new class of councils – regional councils - representing key economic development hubs of the State.

    • For the 2008 elections all councils subject to the review, apart from the Torres Strait Island Regional Council and the Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council, should conduct their election on an undivided basis.

    • New names for amalgamated Councils are based on relevant local geographical features or nomenclature. However it is important to note that where two or more Councils have been amalgamated and these Councils share concerns regarding the adopted name we will accept a unanimous submission from the councils for a different name.

    Mr Beattie said State Cabinet had considered the report this morning and had agreed the recommendations on boundaries would be adopted ‘lock, stock and barrel’.

    He said other recommendations such as elections on an undivided basis would need to be considered in more detail over the next few days.

    “This reform process is not easy and now the hard work will really begin,” Mr Beattie said.

    “Once Cabinet has had its final consideration legislation will be drafted to go before the Parliament next month.

    “Local transition committees will be established and we will work closely with local councils for seamless transition to the new boundaries in time for the 2008 local government elections.”

    Mr Beattie said the recommendations were comprehensive and far reaching and would change the face of local government in Queensland.

    “Over the past 50 years Queensland’s population has almost tripled, growing by more than 2.5 million people,” Mr Beattie said.

    “Our cities, towns, suburbs and communities have all changed.

    “However, our system of local government has not.

    “Current local government boundaries are more than 100 years old and do not reflect growth in our population, changes in demographics or shifts in our communities.”

    Mr Fraser said Queensland had more Councils than any other State or territory in the country.

    “We have close to double the number in Victoria yet we have approximately one million less people,” he said.

    “Many of our Councils are no longer financially viable and 88 have small rate bases of 5000 people or less.

    “That is simply not sustainable.

    “A growing State such as ours needs strong, sustainable Councils that can provide better services for ratepayers.

    “Councils have recognised this need themselves with many participating in the Size, Shape and Sustainability initiative.

    “Unfortunately due to the voluntary nature of this process and the mixed level of commitment by Councils the expectations of achieving serious reform were not met.

    “That is why our Government established this process.

    “The sustainability of Queensland’s local government sector needs to be addressed now if we are to ensure all communities can vote at the next council elections for strong, viable Councils.

    “I can also reassure communities again that Queensland’s vital 37,000-strong council workforce will remain in their jobs.

    “The only people who will be affected will be Mayors, elected councillors and Chief Executive Officers.”

    Mr Beattie said when he announced the reform process back in April he knew a strong, fiercely independent Commission would be needed to undertake the difficult task.

    “I would like to thank Chair Bob Longland and Commissioners Di McCauley, Bob Quinn, Terry Mackenroth, Sir Leo Hielscher, Tom Pyne and Kevin Yearbury,” he said.

    “Over the past three months they have worked extremely hard. They studied the work undertaken by Councils as part of the Size, Shape and Sustainability program as well as numerous submissions from interested stakeholders, local governments and members of the public.

    “The result is today’s report.

    “A report that I believe will create stronger Councils for a growing Queensland.”

    The Local Government Reform Commission report is available for viewing on www.strongercouncils.qld.gov.au

    27 July, 2007

    Further inquiries: Premier’s Office: 3224 4500
    Ministers Office: 3227 8825 

    OTHER KEY RECOMMENDATIONS


    • A new Tablelands Regional Council will be created consisting of the existing Council areas of Atherton, Eacham, Herberton and Mareeba.

    • A new Cairns Regional Council will be created consisting of the existing Council areas of Cairns and Douglas.

    • A new Cassowary Coast Regional Council will be created consisting of the existing Council areas of Cardwell and Johnstone.

    • A new Townsville City Council will be created consisting of the existing Council areas of Townsville and Thuringowa.

    • A new Charters Towers Regional Council will be created consisting of the existing Council areas of Charters Towers and Dalrymple.

    • A new Whitsunday Regional Council will be created consisting of the existing Council areas of Bowen and Whitsunday.

    • A new Mackay Regional Council will be created consisting of the existing Council areas of Mackay City, Mirani and Sarina.

    • A new Rockhampton Regional Council will be created consisting of the existing Council areas of Fitzroy, Livingstone, Mount Morgan and Rockhampton.

    • A new Gladstone Regional Council consisting of the existing Council areas of Calliope, Gladstone, and Miriam Vale.

    • A new Banana Shire Council consisting of the existing Councils areas of Banana and division 1 of Taroom Shire Council.

    • A Roma Regional Council consisting of the existing Council areas of Bendemere, Booringa, Bungil, Roma Town and Warroo Councils.

    • A Dalby Regional Council consisting of the existing Council areas of Chinchilla, Dalby Town, Murilla, Tara, Wambo and Division 2 of Taroom Shire.

    • A new North Burnett Regional Council consisting of the existing Council areas of Biggenden, Eidsvold, Gayndah, Monto, Mundubbera and Perry.

    • A new Bundaberg Regional Council consisting of the existing Council areas of Bundaberg, Burnett, Isis and Kolan.

    • A new Fraser Coast Regional Council consisting of the existing Council areas of Hervey Bay City, Maryborough, Woocoo and divisions 1 + 2 of Tiaro.

    • A Goondiwindi Regional Council consisting of the existing Council areas of Waggamba, Goodiwindi and Inglewood.

    • A new Issac regional Council will be created consisting of the existing Council areas of Belyando, Broadsound and Nebo.

    • A new Barcaldine Regional Council will be created consisting of the existing Council areas of Aramac, Barcaldine and Jericho.

    • A new Longreach Regional Council will be created consisting of the existing Council areas of Ilfracombe, Isisford, and Longreach.

    • A new Blackall Regional Council will be created consisting of the existing Council areas of Blackall and Tambo.

    • A new Emerald Regional Council will be created consisting of the existing Council areas of Bauhinia, Duaringa, Emerald and Peak Downs.

    • A Gympie Regional Council consisting of the existing Council areas of Cooloola, Kilkivan and division 3 of Tiaro Shire

    • A South Burnett Regional Council consisting of the existing Council areas of Kingaroy, Murgon, Nanango and Wondai.

    • A Sunshine Coast Regional Council consisting of the existing Council areas of Caloundra, Maroochy and Noosa.

    • A Somerset Regional Council consisting of the existing Council areas of Esk and Kilcoy.

    • A North Moreton Regional Council consisting of the existing Council areas of Caboolture, Pine Rivers and Redcliffe City.

    • A Toowoomba Regional Council consisting of the existing Council areas of Cambooya, Clifton, Crows Nest, Jondaryn, Millmerran, Pittsworth, Rosalie and Toowoomba City.

    • A Lockyer Valley Regional Council consisting of the existing Council areas of Gatton and Laidley

    • A Logan City Council consisting of the existing Council areas of Logan City and northern urban parts of Beaudesert Shire + Beenleigh, Eagleby and Windaroo areas north of the Albert River from Gold Coast City Council.

    • A Southern Downs Regional Council consisting of the existing Council areas of Stanthorpe and Warwick.

    • A Beaudesert Regional Council consisting of the existing Council areas of Boonah + southern rural areas of Beaudesert Shire + Harrisville/Peak Crossing areas from Ipswich City Council.