Rockhampton mayoral candidates on northern suburbs dispute
Rockhampton voters will be rich with choice come January 23.
To help electors organise their preferences, we asked mayor hopefuls for a brief outline of their ideas and policies regarding 10 topics of interest.
Over the coming days, The Morning Bulletin will publish their answers.
Any excluded candidates did not respond in time for publication or chose not to comment on the issue at hand.
For the tenth topic, candidates were asked: ‘What is your position on the Rockhampton/Livingstone Shire northern suburbs dispute?’
These neighbourhoods have always been part of Livingstone, except for the brief period of amalgamation.
The argument that these residents function as part of Rockhampton can just as easily apply to the coast where most workers commute to Rockhampton for work. They use Rockhampton services as Rockhampton residents commute to the coast on the weekend to use their services.
This is a completely facile argument. Annexing these neighbourhoods into Rocky will make no difference to the residents, but will hurt Livingstone and we need our neighbouring region to prosper for Rockhampton to prosper.
We are ONE community and I intend that we function that way by working closely with Mayor Ireland to project that reality to Brisbane and Canberra.
This ridiculous political line drawn between the two sectors of this single community ends if I’m elected. Together we will serve and service everyone in the broader region regardless of which council area people reside in.
It makes more logistic sense for the areas of Livingstone’s northern suburbs to be incorporated into the Rockhampton Regional Council’s suburb.
The benefits would be for those residents to be able to deal with council matters close to their residency instead of travelling several kilometres to the coast.
The maintenance of roads and infrastructure can be cost-effective as these suburbs are in proximity to Rockhampton where as there would be higher costs for Livingstone shire to provide necessary services for the residents, such as graders maintaining rural roads.
I would like to engage with a meeting with the mayor of Livingstone to discuss these issues and propose that a survey is done with the impacted residents to come to an admirable solution for the people affected.
– Most of the residents want to rejoin RRC
– Need to collaborate with Livingstone for a mutual solution or let the State Government decide via a vote by both ratepayers of Livingstone and Rockhampton.
I have made my position clear many times, going back to mid-2020. If the residents there want to return, I will fully support it.
I don’t think anyone is under the delusion that the people living in these suburbs use majority Rockhampton roads, facilities, infrastructure, and services. This comes at an unfair cost to Rockhampton ratepayers and an unfair advantage to Livingstone ratepayers.
If the assertions by naysayers are correct, that the Livingstone Shire’s remaining ratepayers will suffer an increase, that is a clear indication that residents in these three suburbs are paying for more than what they’re getting.
I would question the loyalty and trustworthiness of any mayoral candidate who would deny these suburbs this solely to benefit a neighbouring shire.
The border dispute needs urgent resolution. The decision should be made independently from either Rockhampton Regional Council or Livingston Shire Council.
My understanding is that approximately 1,170 properties are involved in the boundary dispute. A referendum should be held among the landowners of the concerned properties. The relevant stakeholders should decide whether they wish to remain in the region of Livingstone Shire Council or convert to the Rockhampton Regional Council.
I personally and professionally live by ‘connectivity in the community’ so it is important the Rockhampton region shares a good and genuine relationship with Livingstone Shire and all its residents.
This Rockhampton/Livingstone Shire northern suburbs dispute is an issue that is currently being investigated by the Local Government Change Commission, so I cannot comment or offer a policy without the result of this investigation.
Growth, security, safety, and community will all be better when we can resolve this issue. Further action can be taken once the investigation is closed.
The majority of residents from these suburbs identify as being part of the Rockhampton Region: they work, go to school, play sport, shop and belong to Rockhampton clubs and organisations.
They voted overwhelmingly to return to the Rockhampton Region. It is also very impractical for future growth and the expansion of residential developments when land is located within two local government areas.
This topic has been passed around for a long time now and it seems some residents would
be happy to move from Livingstone to Rockhampton Region while others wouldn’t.
Some of the suburbs North of Rockhampton, currently with Livingstone, I believe do belong in the Rockhampton Region, and discussions around this and other matters do need to be revisited between councils.
The way forward for the Rockhampton Region is to work closely with all of our neighbours developing strong relationships which will see all of us benefit and prosper. No one will achieve greatness by working alone.
I would love to consult with the communities affected before any decision is made.
Most of these communities are already seen to be part of the Rockhampton community and as the Rockhampton Region we would welcome them into the Rockhampton Regional Council.
I fully support the inclusion of the every possible property back into our electorate for the Rockhampton Regional Council. Hopefully the State Government can declare the new boundaries and there will be minimal charges for the RCC.
The citizens that live in these suburbs want it, and it makes sense to have them live, work, shop, and pay rates to RCC.
For the long-term benefit to our council, this is a definite agenda to pursue and negotiating a conflict free settlement will be vital for our region.
I will be working with the State Government to see this completed as smoothly as possible.
Has anyone asked the residents what they want?
I’m all for assisting people that want to be part of the region if we can provide them with services; however, I’m all for it if they want it and won’t force them as a group.
I understand that there has already been a vote by residents with the majority in support of the boundary being changed to allow the suburbs to fall within the bounds of Rockhampton Region.
As has been done in the past where there have been other debates about the movement of boundaries, there should be a proposal put forward and residents given the opportunity to send responses explaining their reasons for or against the proposal.
I am in favour of the boundary change as it makes sense for the residents in these areas to be properly connected to the community where the majority go about their day-to-day activities and be able to complete council-related requirements nearby.
Chris (Pineapple) Hooper
Forget about the Rocky-Yeppoon land drama.
Start getting the walking tracks from Rocky to Yeppoon happening. Will be a big hit. Exercise.
I’m focused on delivering stable and sensible leadership to Rockhampton region residents.
I understand the boundary commissioner is considering Livingstone Shire Council’s request
to reconsider the Council area boundaries.