Res­i­dents sup­port di­vi­sions

Ratepay­ers’ as­so­ci­a­tion val­ues hav­ing coun­cil­lors with lo­cal knowl­edge

Isis Town and Country - - News - By MIKE DERRY

A MEET­ING on keep­ing Bund­aberg Re­gional Coun­cil’s di­vi­sions showed sen­ti­ment was strongly in favour of it.

Change Com­mis­sioner Wal­ter van der Merwe called the meet­ing to dis­cuss the is­sue af­ter a sub­mis­sion was re­ceived from the coun­cil.

Isis Dis­trict Res­i­dents and Ratepay­ers As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent John Van Barn­eveld said the as­so­ci­a­tion had put the is­sue to a vote and voted against abol­ish­ing di­vi­sions.

“Coun­cil­lors don’t have much knowl­edge of how to run a ru­ral area,” he said.

Mr Van Barn­eveld said lo­cal knowl­edge was im­por­tant in the area he rep­re­sented.

He said at the mo­ment it cost about $20,000 to run an elec­tion cam­paign for the coun­cil.

But if di­vi­sions were abol­ished, it would be much more ex­pen­sive.

“That would dis­cour­age new peo­ple from get­ting on the coun­cil,” he said.

Mr Van Barn­eveld said if the Childers area lost its lo­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tive, there would be no one for res­i­dents to ap­proach about any prob­lems.

Wayne Kemp told the meet­ing it was im­por­tant to have lo­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

“I’ve of­ten seen how rep­re­sen­ta­tion by di­vi­sions means you can stand up and have your coun­cil­lor work for you,” he said.

Cr Judy Peters was the only one who spoke in favour of abol­ish­ing di­vi­sions.

She said she had a port­fo­lio and had to work across the en­tire re­gion.

“I prob­a­bly get more calls from Childers and Gin Gin than I do from Kep­nock,” she said.

Change Com­mis­sioner Mr van der Merwe said af­ter the sub­mis­sion from the coun­cil on di­vi­sions, he had been told by Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Min­is­ter Jackie Trad to con­duct an in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

He said he was do­ing an in­de­pen­dent as­sess­ment of what peo­ple thought of the is­sue.

Mr van der Merwe said his de­ci­sion was fi­nal and could not be ap­pealed.

A de­ci­sion is due in the first week in Septem­ber.

The meet­ing was told the Change Com­mis­sion was aware it was an im­por­tant is­sue for the Bund­aberg re­gion.

At­ten­dees were told mar­ket re­search would be car­ried out, prob­a­bly by means of a phone poll.

PHOTO: MIKE KNOTT

ELEC­TORAL AR­RANGE­MENTS: Peo­ple lis­ten and pro­vide in­put at a public meet­ing about whether coun­cil­lors should be elected by di­vi­sions or rep­re­sent the whole coun­cil area.

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