Anger over new bound­aries

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS - By Matthew New­ton

THE north­ern half of the re­gion is up in arms about Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil’s sub­mis­sion to the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Change Com­mis­sion on Elec­toral Bound­aries.

On Mon­day night, around 250 peo­ple turned up at the Bowen PCYC to hear Deputy Mayor An­drew Will­cox and coun­cil­lors Dave Clark and Peter Ramage speak out against coun­cil’s sub­mis­sion, which they ar­gued would strip rep­re­sen­ta­tion from the north.

The three coun­cil­lors are try­ing to or­gan­ise a meet­ing with Deputy Pre­mier and Min­is­ter for Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment and Plan­ning Jackie Trad to dis­cuss the changes pro­posed by coun­cil.

Cr Will­cox urged the crowd to make sub­mis­sions to the elec­toral com­mis­sion be­fore Fri­day’s dead­line.

“Please, make sure we put some sub­mis­sions in, be­cause this is about keep­ing the rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the north,” Cr Will­cox said.

“The only thing that will solve this will be peo­ple power.”

Dur­ing a ques­tion and an­swer ses­sion with the pu- blic, Cr Ramage said that while changes had been in the off­ing for the past two months, the fi­nal maps were never dis­cussed in a brief­ing ses­sion but were in­stead sent out via email.

“...I rang the CEO and I said to him, ‘this is go­ing to cre­ate WWIII’,” Cr Ramage said.

“We have never sat down col­lec­tively with that map and spo­ken about (the changes).”

On the other hand, Mayor Jen­nifer Whit­ney said the coun­cil’s res­o­lu­tion had been formed af­ter three brief­ings to the coun­cil and cor­re­spon­dence to all coun­cil­lors on April 20.

“Only one coun­cil­lor raised ob­jec­tions to the Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer in re­la­tion to the pro­posal since its re­lease to Coun­cil­lors over one month ago,” she said.

While anger is mount­ing in the north, Whit­sun­day Ratepay­ers As­so­ci­a­tion (WRA) sec­re­tary An­thony Moscato wel­comed coun­cil’s sub­mis­sion.

“What coun­cil is propos­ing is fair and eq­ui­table,” he said.

“That was not the case with the pre­vi­ous coun­cil.”

Those want­ing to make sub­mis­sions can email them to: whit­sun­dayre­gion­al­coun­cil­re­view@ecq.qld.gov.au.

COM­MU­NITY ANGER: Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil Deputy Mayor An­drew Will­cox ad­dresses Bowen res­i­dents over the pro­posed changes to the re­gion's in­ter­nal elec­toral bound­aries in the Bowen PCYC on Mon­day night.

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