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Carter calls for calm and logic when voting on split

Former Rockhampton Mayor, Brad Carter. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin
Former Rockhampton Mayor, Brad Carter. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin Chris Ison

ROCKHAMPTON Regional Council's first mayor Brad Carter says he fears that when it comes to deamalgamation, the loudest voices are drowning out the logical ones.

Speaking for the first time since he was voted out of council in April, Mr Carter said there was no doubt the split would cost ratepayers and urged the community "to think long and hard that this is what they want".

But the man who stood at the helm during the amalgamation of the Livingstone shire and Rockhampton Council and was subsequently voted as the amalgamated council's first mayor, said his views on deamalgamation were neutral.

"The State Government's decision to amalgamate the councils was done in an autocratic manner and in hindsight could have been handled a lot better and lessened the angst and confusion felt by the communities at the time," Mr Carter said.

"But the decision to amalgamate councils throughout Queensland was right - there was really no other choice because the Federal and State Governments had decided at some point to stop all subsidies and grants to councils and they would have to stand on their own two feet and so this meant, for economies of scale, amalgamations were the only way to go."

He said this had been proven on the Capricorn Coast.

"In the case of the Capricorn Coast, it has received significant benefits from the new council that would not have been provided by the former Livingstone Shire," Mr Carter said.

He listed $1 million for the All Abilities Playground, $3 million for the James Street reconstruction and $6.4 million for the refurbishment of the Yeppoon Town Hall.

But with residents set to vote on deamalgamation in the new year Mr Carter voiced his fears.

"Make no mistake, deamalgamation will cost the ratepayers of both new entities and particularly the Capricorn Coast which will increase rates well above existing rating charges," Mr Carter said.

"And deamalgamation, if approved, will see new expensive local government elections held for two new local government entities at the expense of our ratepayers in the future.

"This will see two new mayors, two sets of councillors and two new CEOs and two sets of senior management teams - we live in an age when we need to see a reduction in the size of public administrations and not an increase."

Topics:  brad carter de-amalgamation livingstone mayor rockhampton regional council vote



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