Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow
Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow Trish Bowman

Proposed council name change from Rockhampton to Capricorn

IN A major back flip, Mayor Margaret Strelow has proposed Rockhampton Regional Council change its name to Capricorn Regional Council.

Fighting against the deamalgamation campaign for the former Livingstone Shire Council, Cr Strelow has offered what she has called a "new beginning" to Capricorn Coast voters set to head to the polls on March 9.

"I have been listening to the comments of ordinary voters at the coast," Cr Strelow said.

"They don't want to go through the cost of a full deamalgamation - but they do want an olive branch."

But Cr Strelow's current position is in stark contrast to comments she made to The Morning Bulletin last week.

She told The Bulletin changing the name would be a mistake because the real strength of Rockhampton Regional Council was that it was recognized "far and wide".

Cr Strelow explained her change of mind, saying leadership was not about being stubborn.

She said while remains convinced Rockhampton Regional Council is the best name for promoting the region, Capricorn Regional Council was the best name for uniting the region.

Cr Strelow admitted she had not yet put the proposal to Local Government Minister David Crisafulli, but she believed he would support the idea.

And she believes the majority of councillors would also feel the same way.

With the deamalgamation debate over-shadowing her term thus far, she said this change of name would be a "genuine mark of good faith" that this region's council would represent every community throughout the region.

But the originating force behind the push to divide, Cr Bill Ludwig, labelled the proposal "total nonsense".

"Changing the name will not make council any more efficient or ensure that Livingstone rates are spent where they are most needed here in our community," he said.

"Effectively (council) has used Livingstone ratepayers to pay for the inefficient regional council that Mayor Strelow played a key role in encouraging the former State Government to force upon us.

"To suggest now that changing the name will fix all that and right the wrongs with respect is a total nonsense."

Many community members have expressed concern at the cost a name change could bring.

Council's acting CEO Bob Holmes said when the four council's originally amalgamated, it cost council $253,000 to develop the logo and change the names on signs, properties and other items, as well as replacing uniforms.

But Mr Holmes and Cr Strelow expect the figure to be much less this time around.

"It will be much less than the $10million it will cost to deamalgamate," Cr Strelow said.

She explained the logo would be kept the same and only the first word of the council's name would have to be changed.

Cr Strelow added that some items, such as uniforms, would be replaced as they wore out.



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