Ludwig lashes council for faults
AMALGAMATION-hater Bill Ludwig yesterday seized on the Queensland Treasury Corporation review of Rockhampton Regional Council's finances to claim merging the four councils into one had patently failed.
On Saturday The Morning Bulletin revealed that ratepayers faced another decade of inflation-busting rises in rates and utilities to help the council balance its books.
Cr Ludwig, the former Mayor of Livingstone Shire, says the QTC report card exposes claims by the State Government and Mayor Brad Carter that the merger had made the council financially strong as deceitful.
He said the review showed the community had been consistently misled.
"The analysis and financial projections expose just how deceitful the government has been and why de-amalgamation must now be seriously considered by Rockhampton as well as coast ratepayers.
"Forced amalgamations have been a cynical and calculated smoke-screen for the government to siphon hundreds of millions of dollars in infrastructure and other vital state funding from regional communities.
"This has resulted in not only massive rate rises for ratepayers, but massive debt as well."
He said that at amalgamation the combined debt of Rockhampton, Mount Morgan, Livingstone and Fitzroy was $101 million.
This financial year the amalgamated authority's debt will burst to $225 million and the review predicts it will explode to $285.4 million by 2015.
"The cost to ratepayers to service just the interest alone will sky-rocket to $18.3 million or approximately $350 a year for each rateable property."
Response to the on-line version on our website railed against the predicted imposition of a $60 per household carbon-tax levy and rates increases.