Ready to wel­come you

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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