Lo­cal gov­ern­ments get to­gether in Port Dou­glas

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

IN­CREASED wa­ter rates, amal­ga­ma­tion cost blow outs, the loss of vi­tal in­fra­struc­ture sub­si­dies - and where to get the best bar­gains in Macrossan Street were all topics up for dis­cus­sion at last week’s lo­cal govern­ment con­fer­ence in Port Dou­glas. With more than 100 North Queens­land may­ors and coun­cil­lors, as well as their staff and fam­i­lies, con­verg­ing on Port, the con­fer­ence was a much-needed and wel­come in­jec­tion into the lo­cal econ­omy, ac­cord­ing to Di­vi­sion 10 Cr Ju­lia Leu. Cr Leu said it was ob­vi­ous re­gard­less of ge­o­graph­i­cal or de­mo­graph­i­cal dif­fer­ences, many of the chal­lenges fac­ing lo­cal govern­ment ar­eas across North Queens­land were the same. She said at­ten­dees were “very aware” of the angst that con­tin­ued to ex­ist in the Dou­glas re­gion about the im­pact of forced amal­ga­ma­tion and it was clear the com­mu­nity was not alone. “It seems the con­cept of lo­cal govern­ment hav­ing con­trol of its own destiny and that of its com­mu­ni­ties is go­ing out the win­dow,” she said. “Amal­ga­ma­tion was go­ing to de­liver greater fi­nan­cial ef­fi­ciency and economies of scale yet what we now know is over­all, lo­cal govern­ment debt in­creased, the num­ber of staff in­creased and the cost bur­den to ratepay­ers of de­liv­er­ing ser­vices such as wa­ter has in­creased.”

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