Former mayor shares insights on de-amalgamation issue
I FULLY believe de-amalgamation will impede opportunities for future generations.
All of us need to analyse the facts to make an informed decision and not vote on emotion.
My comments are based on my own personal views and extensive personal experience, which have been influenced by an extraordinary four years as mayor where this region has been through the greatest reform that local government has ever seen in this region.
I care about the future of this region as I have lived and worked here for half of my life.
The reality is most of the information that has been promoted to support the de-amalgamation case has been confusing, misleading and in some cases factually incorrect.
I wish to present a scenario of two types of councils for the community to consider in terms of what sort of council they want.
OPTION 1: A progressive and modern council that exhibits the following:
- Efficient and effective operations of all business affairs and council assets
- Strong financial performance to benefit ratepayers and to withstand disasters, extreme climatic events and global financial crises
- Improved service delivery
- Greater resilience to withstand the withdrawal and reduction of State and Federal Government assistance
- Capable of presenting professional cases for support to Federal and State Governments
- Confidence of credible business and industry who wish to invest with confidence of the approved and adopted planning scheme
- Improved management of staff, development of career paths and staff retention protected from poaching resource industries
- Greater support for social and recreational services
- Support for economic growth and business development
- No additional cost to maintain the existing arrangement and a rating system guided by an established 10-year Long Term Financial Strategy endorsed by the State Government.
OPTION 2: Do you want a council that exhibits the following attributes:
- Representation based on a smaller section of the population
- Basic management of operations of business affairs and council assets
- Weaker financial performance and struggles to deal with disasters, extreme climatic events and global financial crises
- Basic service delivery
- Inappropriately influenced by businesses pursuing questionable real estate developments outside of an approved and adopted planning scheme
- Unable to withstand the pressure from Federal and State governments' withdrawal of assistance
- Unable to present good cases for support to Federal and State governments
- Unable to attract and retain good professional staff and suffering from high staff turnover
- Unable to support economic growth and lacking business confidence
- Significant costs to fund new elections, IT systems, offices, new management structures and overheads
- Significant increases in rates for years to come
We all live in a large, diverse region
WE need to accept that we all live, work and play in a very large diverse region with great long-term opportunities and should not be bogged down in petty debates about Rocky versus the Coast or the Coast versus Rocky.
We need to look carefully at the motives of those who wish to support de-amalgamation and what are their vested interests.
I will provide one example of a business asset that will be lost to a new de-amalgamated council.
This is the Rockhampton Airport that generates a healthy positive cash flow into general council revenue.
This revenue can be increased to benefit the whole community or the airport could be sold eliminating the total council debt.
Any new de-amalgamated council will forego any benefit from this great asset.
If you desire a council with a greater representation for you, then you should vote for Option 2.
"If you desire a council to look to the future, operating efficiently and effectively making sure that our future generations have great long-term opportunities who will not bear the cost of excessive and unnecessary rates, then Option 1 should be your choice."