Ready to welcome you
NINETEEN Queensland communities put forward cases to split from their amalgamated councils, and I gave the vote to four of them. Douglas, Noosa, Livingstone and Mareeba were the only four that proved there was a possibility for a separate council that could support itself, not just in the short term, but for the long haul. Expert financial analysis of the prodeamalgamation cases showed that, with the exception of Noosa, there were substantial challenges, but if there was even the slightest chance that these communities could forge a separate and sustainable future, I turned that decision over to the community. My responsibility did not stop there. As a Minister of the Newman Government, I was entrusted to ensure your community cast a vote based on the facts. The Queensland Treasury Corporation, reviewed all of the facts and calculated the cost of your council’s split. The figures were presented and your community overwhelmingly voted yes. I was asked what I would view as a successful result. For me, it was not about the number of yes votes, only that there was a high voter turnout and a clear mandate. I was delighted both occurred. Now that the course has been chosen, I will be doing everything in my power to make sure costs are minimised while a functioning Douglas Shire Council is assembled. Comments that I didn’t want to see deamalgamation put to a vote are wrong. If I was looking for an excuse to weasel out of our commitment I could have easily taken the Boundaries Commissioner’s advice. I did not because I looked your community in the eye and said if it was at all possible to create two viable councils, I would put it to a vote. It’s time now to focus on making the Douglas deamalgamation work, to bring to life the vision your community so desperately wants and is willing to pay for. Council expert and transfer manager Jeff Tate is your community’s champion. He has been charged with delivering value for money to navigate a fair and legal route for you to take your place once again at the table of Queensland’s local government. I have also legislated for him to meet with your local MP David Kempton, a representative from the Port Douglas Chamber of Commerce, and representatives from Tourism Port Douglas and Daintree. I have encouraged him to consult regularly and more widely. As he is living in your community, I have no doubt he will be getting clear views from locals when he goes to the shop, post office and even out for dinner. I opened the door for you because I believe in regional Queensland, and I’ll be first in line to welcome you through it. in getting the best value in sending a parcel to Israel. I’ll not go into why I visited the two post offices but again thank you ladies for your priceless and invaluable patience with me, and always with a smile too. See you again (not too soon) when the need is there for me to post goodies off to my son and granddaughter who live in Tel Aviv, Israel. For a town that thrives on tourists, we are certainly not doing anything to encourage people of all abilities and walks of life to feel able to enjoy what we have to offer. I would encourage all businesses to seriously consider making changes to cater for everyone’s abilities and circumstances.