Council’s views sought on ‘overseeing’ chunk of Coral Sea
BUNDABERG Regional Council may soon have a chunk of the Coral Sea to look after, stretching from Burnett Heads to Burrum Heads and out to Fraser Island.
The additional divisional area comes as the State Government realised, during its Electoral Commission of Queensland boundary review process, that
the ocean area was not allocated to a Local Government.
At a briefing this month, council organisational services general manager Glenn Hart told councillors the area may have been left unallocated when the council was broken into divisions with the introduction of the Bundaberg Regional Council in 2008.
Bundaberg Deputy Mayor and council governance spokesman Dave Batt joked that “we need to look after the whales as well”.
After the meeting, Cr Batt said the Department of Local Government, Community Recovery and Resilience was seeking the council’s views on including the area within the council’s geographic area.
“This issue appears to have been an administrative oversight only and, as there are no islands in the area, has no financial or resource implications for council,” he said. “The geographic areas of all Queensland councils on the eastern seaboard extend seaward.”
The boundary of the proposed area abuts Fraser Island, which falls under Fraser Coast Council’s division seven, represented by Darren Everard.
On initial contact, Cr Everard said he was unaware of the state’s proposition to Bundaberg Regional Council.
“This is the first that I’d ever heard of it,” he said.
After seeking advice from the department, Cr Everard said “it actually means nothing”.
“It’s an unallocated sea area,” he said. “They’re wanting someone to take responsibility for the unallocated land, which is actually the sea floor.
“The government’s sort of saying ‘Bundaberg, you’re it, you look after it, but you’re not going to look after Fraser Island’, so Fraser Island will stay with Fraser Coast.”