Mergers on agenda

By FRAZER PEARCE ? THE SIMMERING issue of amalgamation of Rockhampton and surrounding shires erupted again at Rockhampton City Council's general meeting last night.

Deputy Mayor Jim Webber launched an attack on the attitude of some neighbouring shires as councillors discussed the merits of attending the "Size, Shape and Sustainability of Local Government in Queensland'' conference in Brisbane next month.

Cr Webber said he found it "very disappointing'' when community leaders refused to consider amalgamation because they wanted to "protect their little empire''.

"I don't want amalgamation for amalgamation's sake,'' he said.

"I believe we should at least have a look at what advantages there are for the ratepayers (of all the communities involved).''

He said a thorough study was required into the super shire concept of merging Rockhampton city, Mount Morgan, Fitzroy and Livingstone shires.

Cr Rose Swadling backed Cr Webber.

"The talk must be done,'' she said.

Livingstone Mayor Bill Ludwig said last night he wanted to pursue partnerships (water, sewerage, waste management strategies) with Rockhampton ? not amalgamation.

"It's the twin cities model,'' he said.

"Stand together like two pillars, maintaining our separate identities but speaking with a collective voice.



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