Deamalgamation debate becoming a battle of bean counters
AS THE deamalgamation debate shapes up to be the battle of the bean counters, proponents continue to claim former Livingstone ratepayers are being short changed.
Capricorn Coast Independence Movement chairman Paul Lancaster yesterday labelled the mayor's figures, and claims to a fair share in Livingstone, as "misleading and a less than honest portrayal of the real facts".
"The reality is $37.5m of the figures quoted were, in fact, funds previously secured by LSC from the state and federal governments for the Yeppoon/Rockhampton pipeline," he said yesterday.
'When taken out of the calculations, the percentage of capital spending Livingstone has been getting in return for our 37.3% rate contribution is only 22.4%."
Rockhampton Region Mayor Margaret Strelow said Mr Lancaster's comments about Fitzroy River Water reflected a poor understanding of competition legislation as it applied to local government.
"Both FRW and the airport are required to return a profit to RRC's general fund, but this in turn makes everyone's general rates cheaper," she said.
"The figure of $52 million cash allocated to a new Livingstone Shire includes developer contributions held in reserve and is proportionately higher than that allocated to the residual council should there be a deamalgamation," she said.
"Similarly, if there is a deamalgamation then Livingstone Shire receives $76 million in debt, which is also higher."
Cr Strelow said councils were required by law to use property valuations as a basis for levying rates.
"Any argument about this needs to be made with other levels of government," she said.
"Personally, I could not support a system that reduced services to an area because it had 'lower value' homes," she said.
Last week, Cr Strelow acknowledged Livingstone ratepayers would be financially better off and Mr Lancaster said it was beyond doubt that Livingstone had been cross-subsidising Rockhampton.
He said this was "a fact that has also been acknowledged in the Boundary Commission report".
But Cr Strelow maintained Mr Lancaster was not quoting the full paragraph from the Boundary Commissioner's report.
"Following on from that, RRC as a whole is subsidising the former areas of Fitzroy and Mount Morgan and projects in these areas are being prioritised," she said. "The issue is a regional one."
Mr Lancaster said Livingstone electors would have the chance to make their assessment at the polls.