We’d be worse off: Mayor

Cr Do­bie un­aware of is­sues driv­ing de-merger push

Stanthorpe Border Post - - NEWS -

SOUTH­ERN Downs Re­gional Coun­cil mayor Tracy Do­bie has brushed off a call for de-amal­ga­ma­tion and says Stan­thorpe would be “worse off”.

The Gran­ite Belt Com­mu­nity As­so­ci­a­tion has put the wheels in mo­tion and plans to cir­cu­late a pe­ti­tion be­fore hold­ing a pub­lic rally in April.

The group, headed up by pres­i­dent Rev Alan Colyer, has been in­ves­ti­gat­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of de-amal­ga­ma­tion over a lengthy pe­riod. South­ern Downs mayor Tracy Do­bie said de-amal­ga­ma­tion was some­thing that needed to be broached at a state gov­ern­ment level.

“The Depart­ment of Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment, Rac­ing and Mul­ti­cul­tural Af­fairs man­age amal­ga­ma­tions and de-amal­ga­ma­tions and it’s an is­sue for them,” she said.

“I’m not aware specif­i­cally of the is­sues the Gran­ite

Belt Com­mu­nity As­so­ci­a­tion has. “They have been pre­vi­ously in­vited to meet with coun­cil to ad­dress their con­cerns but they de­clined say­ing they did not want to meet with us.

“That’s an open in­vi­ta­tion, it al­ways has been but if they wish to look into de-amal­ga­ma­tion then they’ll need to take that up with the state gov­ern­ment.”

Cr Do­bie said there was no doubt the 2008 amal­ga­ma­tion brought many changes to the re­gion.

“It’s not the first time it’s hap­pened, like the amal­ga­ma­tion of War­wick, Al­lora, Glen­gal­lan and Rosen­thal shires into the Shire of War­wick in 1994,” she said.

“But in 2008, Stan­thorpe Shire cam­paigned heav­ily against amal­ga­ma­tion in the lead up to the form­ing of the South­ern Downs Re­gional Coun­cil.

“Per­son­ally I think the com­mu­nity of Stan­thorpe would be worse off un­der de-amal­ga­ma­tion.

“For in­stance, Stan­thorpe like War­wick, has a lot of old in­fra­struc­ture that will need to be re­placed or up­graded in the com­ing decades.

“Stan­thorpe is a very small area and has a very small num­ber of rate pay­ers, so that and ma­jor cost is­sues would need to be se­ri­ously con­sid­ered.”

Cr Do­bie said in the ten years since amal­ga­ma­tion there had been as much in­vest­ment in the Stan­thorpe area per capita as there had been any­where else across the re­gion.

“Af­ter the 2008 elec­tion, the Lib­eral party did look at those coun­cils in Queens­land that wanted to de-amal­ga­mate. Stan­thorpe put for­ward their case but was knocked back.”

See a re­sponse to the mayor’s com­ments from the Gran­ite Belt Com­mu­nity As­so­ci­a­tion on Page 6

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