Council bucks up at boundary fiddle
COUNCILLORS have set themselves on a crash course with the Queensland Electoral Commission (QEC) over boundary changes that will create one super-division for the Rockhampton region's rural communities.
Members of the regional council yesterday voted emphatically to reject the commission's proposals to reshape the 10 electoral divisions.
Cr Glenda Mather led the charge, claiming the QEC proposal for Division 5 was unworkable and undemocratic.
Earlier this month the commission revealed it had dismissed the council's submission to tinker with the existing boundaries to even up the voter numbers in each division.
It wants to include 60 of the region's distinct rural communities in one massive division which effectively encircles Rockhampton.
But Cr Cherie Rutherford, who currently represents Division 5, believed it was a mistake because no individual would be physically able to provide an adequate service to ratepayers.
“There are vast areas of that proposed division which would not see their councillor as often as they should.
“Those people are not going to have adequate representation in the council,” she said.
Mayor Brad Carter said the electoral commission had totally ignored the council's submission and councillors could spend endless hours to try to ease the burden on Division 5.
The council voted seven to two to inform the commission it should accept minor changes to the existing boundaries, stressing concerns over the ability of one person to represent such a large area.
But there were dissenting voices.
Cr Sandra O'Brien said she believed that, given the growth rate in Gracemere, Division 4 had become unworkable in its current state.
“Gracemere continues to grow quickly and in the last three years I have driven 180,000 kilometres on council business,” she said.