Strelow: New boundary referendum would 'set blood boiling'
ROCKHAMPTON Region mayor Margaret Strelow believes a Livingstone Shire referendum to decided the fate of its northern suburbs would be a "kick in the guts" for Rockhampton residents.
Responding to a statement from a Department of Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs spokesperson, Cr Strelow said another vote would "set blood boiling".
It came after Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchcliffe offered to mediate talks between the two councils, with each mayor at loggerheads in the bitter boundary change dispute.
What is the best resolution to the boundary dispute over Glenlee, Glendale and Rockview?
This poll ended on 15 April 2018.
Leave them as they are and let the Livingstone Shire Council take care of them.
Return them to the Rockhampton Regional Council, it makes sense.
Hold a referendum and let the people of Livingstone Shire decide.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
Mr Hinchliffe said both Local Government Areas deserved fair boundaries that were in the best interests of councils and residents.
"There's no doubt some residents in Livingstone Shire feel a greater affinity with Rockhampton," he said.
"I've already spoken to the mayors of both councils, and each acknowledges further discussion is necessary
"That's why I've offered to mediate talks between Livingstone and Rockhampton, so that we can work toward an agreement that suits everyone."
Cr Strelow, who claims the boundary issue is costing her council $5 million a year in services provided to the residents of the fringe suburbs of Glenlee, Glendale and Rockyview, said the Minister's mediation offer was a step in the right direction for Rockhampton after years of frustration.
"I wrote to Mayor Bill Ludwig in October 2016 and he responded 10 days later saying Livingstone Council would issue a formal response in the next week - we're still waiting," she said.
"I wrote again to Mayor Ludwig in August 2017 seeking to begin formal discussions on the boundary realignment - we're still waiting."
Cr Strelow said the LNP State Government at the time knew Rockhampton would have a difficult financial path, but promised multiple times the northern suburbs would be returned between 2016 and 2020.
"Now we have the Mayor of Livingstone Shire saying that he 'can't afford' to allow this community to come to us and a State Government spokesperson insisting that people in Yeppoon get to have a vote," Cr Strelow said.
"What a kick in the guts.
"I understand that it was a State Government of different political colour that oversaw the de-amalgamation but that makes no difference to the injustice that it would be for this State Government to follow through and to insist on a referendum of the whole of Livingstone before the northern suburbs are allowed to join us."
Cr Ludwig said people at community forums had expressed a strong desire to have another vote on the issue.
He said he was "delighted" to have the minister mediate.
"I did once again reiterate that I didn't believe there was a pressing rush and that from a financial stability point of view it would be a major impact on Livingstone, particularly given Rockhampton is boasting it is in a strong financial position," he said.
"I still also believe the rules set by the Boundary Commissioner should apply because it is going to affect the whole shire.
"There is no case to be stampeding this process at a time when we're moving into consolidation mode after bearing all the costs of the de-amalgamation."