The great de-amalgamation debate may determine the future
IT WILL be the battle that could decide the future of the region.
There is no doubt that when Mayor Margaret Strelow and Cr Bill Ludwig take the stage in next week's public de-amalgamation debate they will engage in a contest that will convince some voters to either split the region or keep it together. Both of them know their words could mean the final nail in the coffin of the amalgamated council, as Cr Ludwig hopes.
Or voters might be swayed by Cr Strelow's arguments and decide to throw Livingstone's last chance to split away when they vote on March 9.
There will be no leeway given to one another. Both will be fighting tooth and nail for residents' votes.
While Cr Strelow first threw down the gauntlet, Cr Ludwig yesterday said if she didn't, he would have.
"This is something that we should have had all along, however, the mayor said she was going to keep out of the debate," Cr Ludwig said.
"The mayor also said that council resources would not go into a 'no' campaign which is a promise that certainly went out the window over recent weeks."
But Cr Ludwig said he had one stipulation.
"Mayor Strelow has intimated that all she wants to talk about are budget figures, which are certainly important, but our community has asked me to debate all the issues which is what I intend to do," he said.
Confusion has reigned in the community as the Queensland Treasury's and the Capricorn Coast Independence Movement's predicted costs of a split have been thrown back and forth.
But Cr Ludwig said de-amalgamation was not just about finances.
"What is equally important is the role a new council can play in supporting our community in important areas like community development, youth services, senior citizens, sporting groups, and facilities for young families," he said.
And Cr Strelow has a stipulation of her own.
"I want to see their budget before the debate," she said.
The mayor suggested to Cr Ludwig that someone from the Local Government Association of Queensland moderate the debate to ensure impartiality. She was yesterday waiting for Cr Ludwig's response.
THE GREAT DEBATE
When: Thursday, March 7
Where: Yeppoon Town Hall
Some of Cr Bill Ludwig's topics:
Livingstone council jobs and work for local contractors
Dump vouchers and the Yeppoon landfill as potential super-dump
Closure of youth centre and youth library
Water access charges
Some of Mayor Margaret Strelow's topics:
Capricorn Coast Independence Movement's budget
Cr Strelow has agreed to discuss all of the above topics