Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow speaks out against de-amalgamation.
Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow speaks out against de-amalgamation. Chris Ison

No $50m for Livingstone Shire if council splits

DE-AMALGAMATION proponents were given an upsetting wake-up call when Mayor Margaret Strelow told councillors at a public council meeting this week that it was unlikely a new Livingstone would receive anywhere near the $52.6 million predicted by the Queensland Treasury Corporation.

Councillor Bill Ludwig has previously said the money would be used to subsidise a split, rather than pass on the cost to ratepayers.

But Cr Strelow said Rockhampton Regional Council only had $70 million in the bank at the moment.

Harry Bruce cartoon for front page of The Morning Bulletin February 28 about de-amalgamation featuring Councillor Bill Ludwig and Mayor Margaret Strelow
Harry Bruce cartoon for front page of The Morning Bulletin February 28 about de-amalgamation featuring Councillor Bill Ludwig and Mayor Margaret Strelow Harry Bruce

She predicted council's finances would be in much the same position in December, the time flagged by Local Government Minister David Crisafulli for a split should residents vote in favour of it.

A council officer explained to councillors the QTC's figure was based on the council's bank total of $104 million at June 2012.

Cr Strelow said a lot had changed.

Those changes included a natural disaster that had battered not only regional areas, but council's financial position as well.

"QTC's estimate of $52.6 million in cash and $73.6 million in debt is dependent on the cash at bank on the actual date of separation," she said.

"We won't have all the rates. It's normally around $70 million in December."

Cr Ludwig's absence at the council table was obvious as Cr Strelow's warnings went uncontested.

But he shot back from outside council chambers afterward, saying Livingstone would receive the $52.6 million and more.

"Apart from the $52.6 million in cash that will be handed back to Livingstone ratepayers, the new council will also retake possession of millions of dollars worth of plant, equipment, vehicles, and land assets," Cr Ludwig said.

Cr Strelow said if there was a separation, cash, other assets and debt would all be separated in good faith.



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