Katter’s Australian Party Keppel candidate Luke Hargreaves says his party would work to reduce the cost impacts on the community from the council amalgamations.
Katter’s Australian Party Keppel candidate Luke Hargreaves says his party would work to reduce the cost impacts on the community from the council amalgamations. Allan Reinikka

Pearce rethinks amalgamation issue

THE Labor Party candidate for the seat of Mirani has back peddled on his view of the forced local government amalgamations.

Jim Pearce admitted at a candidates' forum at CQUniversity yesterday he supported the concept when it was proposed, but was now having second thoughts.

"At the time I thought it was a good thing," he said.

"I thought it offered local governments the opportunity to get their management into a situation where they could manage better."

Mr Pearce said there had been a lot of complaints about local services and the State Government passing on costs.

"I would like to sit down with a couple of councils and look at their books and see where they are spending their money," he said.

Mr Pearce wasn't the only candidate concerned with how the amalgamations had turned out, with Katter's Australian Party hope for Keppel, Luke Hargreaves, commenting the party would support de-amalgamation of councils where there was a high demand for it.

Mr Hargreaves said the party would try to ease pressure for ratepayers and other Queenslanders by dropping registration prices, dropping a surcharge currently on electricity and returning water assets to local governments.

Independent candidate for Rockhampton Diane Hamilton said she did not believe services currently being provided by the council were any better than when the region had three separate councils.

She said the amalgamations had affected many of the small councils and she'd heard of rates increasing up to 800%.

Liberal National Party Keppel candidate Bruce Young said there was no consultation done leading up to the forced amalgamations.



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