Carter calls for united region ahead of next weekend's poll

FORMER Rockhampton Regional Council mayor Brad Carter says he has never seen the community so divided.

Mr Carter, the inaugural mayor of the amalgamated Rockhampton Regional Council, this week issued a statement calling on people to put their differences behind them.

He thinks a united region is the way forward and has moved to counter what he says is a misleading promotional campaign.

"It is time we put differences from the past behind us, accept that we cannot undo the past and that for the sake of our future generations we need to co-operate and work with the existing regional council and make it work," Mr Carter said.

"We are all part of one large community and in this day and age we need less government not more.

"In particular, we do not want to be paying higher rates to a new council that will not provide any improvement in services."

He said: "There is no way in the world the statements made in this YES promotional material can be delivered by any new de-amalgamated council and still operate a financially sustainable council."

Former Rockhampton Regional Council mayor Brad Carter outside the pre-polling location - Livingstone Area Returning Officer's Office, Yeppoon Court House, 21-23 Normanby Street, Yeppoon.
Former Rockhampton Regional Council mayor Brad Carter outside the pre-polling location - Livingstone Area Returning Officer's Office, Yeppoon Court House, 21-23 Normanby Street, Yeppoon. Christine Mckee

"I again urge the community to consider how they vote on this vital issue and to be careful not to be misled by promises that cannot be kept."

His key issues of contention from the YES vote promotional material are:

  • A new democratically elected council will set the operating and financial environment and this is yet to be identified, determined and elected;
  • Rates will rise or services will be reduced;
  • Rate dollars will be spent outside of the coastal region for wages and supplies such as fuel, building materials, consumables and the like. This is normal for any council in Australia and is inconsistent with the statement - "Every rate dollar will be spent here";
  • If council is to fully fund every community and sporting group, then there will be more pressure for significant rate increases;
  • The coast cannot grow without a guaranteed water supply and the Rockhampton to Yeppoon pipeline is critical to future urban growth. The Waterpark supply does not have a sustainable flow to support long-term urban growth;
  • The new de-amalgamated council will need to invest heavily in identifying its long-term landfill requirements by itself and will lose the ability to share these expenses as part of a bigger region;
  • Federal and State Government grants are much more competitive and usually require matching funding and this will be much more difficult for a smaller de-amalgamated council. The refurbished Yeppoon Town Hall was an excellent outcome from a regional council that obtained equal funding from the Federal Government;
  • The statement that there will be a more effective and efficient council that you elect is totally subjective and cannot be guaranteed through our democratic processes;
  • The financial figures that are being presented are just creative accounting and lack rigour against the real needs of a council being financially sustainable.

CCIM spokesman Bill Ludwig said he would respond to Mr Carter's position in tomorrow's edition of The Morning Bulletin.



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