De-merger raises questions

DUSAN Cech fears the Capricorn Coast could be sleepwalking into a de-amalgamation it wouldn't benefit from, aided by a regional council that doesn't appear to care.

The president of the Capricorn Coast Ratepayers and Residents Association says while he understands why more than 6500 people have so far signed a petition calling for a split from Rockhampton, neither side has provided enough information for anyone to make a considered judgement about what would be best for the coast's future.

“We've not seen evidence over the last three years that the council is able to deliver for the coast.

"General upkeep and maintenance has been poor, there's a less personal service and a perception that there is a bias in favour of Rockhampton.

“We feel the council has committed some big errors and that is why there has been such a powerful expression of feelings.

"But those feelings can change, especially if it can be shown that we would be worse off with de-amalgamation.

"It's up to the council to come out, answer the criticisms, present the facts and present an argument otherwise we could see a return to something like the old Livingstone Shire Council, which didn't work either.”

The association has written both to council chief executive Evan Pardon and Cr Bill Ludwig, the chief proponent of a de-merger, with a list of questions it would like answered to inform the debate.

It asks if the council is prepared to recognise that it has taken more than it has returned to the coast and if the council's name could be changed to one that unifies rather than divides the region.

The association asks if the council will consider another site for the regional landfill and reducing rates.

Mr Cech said the association would also like to know, if there was a split, if it would be feasible to share some services and responsibilities.

Would a new entity be able to recruit staff with the necessary skills?

Would it be cheaper and better value?

What offices would be available and how much would it cost to establish a new planning scheme?

“With 6500 signatures already, no government will be able to totally ignore the de-amalgamation call,” he said.

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