Final meeting, thanks for coming
THE unhappy marriage the Cairns and Douglas councils were forced into five years ago looks set to end in an equally bitter divorce.
Cairns Regional Council’s final meeting held in Mossman yesterday was an occasionally fiery affair, with tempers flaring over the final details of the split.
Newly elected Douglas Shire mayor Julia Leu accused CRC chief executive Peter Tabulo of lumping the soonto-be-restored council with an unfair financial burden by transferring 31 staff from Cairns to Mossman.
Under de-amalgamation guidelines set down by the State Government, Cairns can send between 135 and 165 staff to Mossman.
It is sending 145 staff and 18 vacant and funded positions, taking the total amount of transferred positions to 163.
Cr Leu asked her fellow councillors for their support in instructing Mr Tabulo to retract the forced relocations but was outvoted 7-2, with only Cr Rob Pyne backing her.
‘‘This is an act of sabotage to undermine the new council brought in at the eleventh hour,’’ she said.
‘‘This is a cruel act on the staff involved.’’
But Mr Tabulo maintained he had acted appropriately and within the legislation for de-amalgamating councils.
In the council chambers, deamalgamation supporters had to be hushed several times. At one point Mayor Bob Manning threatened to adjourn the meeting.
Two items on the agenda from within the Douglas Shire were also allowed to proceed yesterday, despite repeated requests from Cr Leu to allow the new council to consider them next year.
Cr Leu said the applicants were attempting to hurry through the applications to avoid the scrutiny of the Douglas Shire Council.
‘‘I feel at this late stage 36 days before the new council comes into operation those particular items should have been considered by the new council,’’ she said.
DEBATE: Mayor elect Julia Leu