Rockhampton Regional Council, RRC, City Hall on Bolsover Street.    Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin
Rockhampton Regional Council, RRC, City Hall on Bolsover Street. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin Chris Ison ROK250816ccouncil5

The paper trail that's got Cr Williams hot under the collar

A KEY report into federal government decentralisation has closely matched Rockhampton Regional Council's own action plan indicating the region is on "the right track".

The Federal Government Inquiry into Regional Development and Decentralisation found that notwithstanding challenges in cities like Armidale, decentralisation was best for the nation as a whole, in the long-term.

Advance Rockhampton general manager, Tony Cullen, told this week's council meeting that its submission to the enquiry had helped ensure the agenda was continued and recommended the council write to the committee reconfirming its call for government and commercial entities to be relocated to the region.

But Councillor Tony Williams told the meeting the process had begun to feel like a paper trail and suggested a delegation be sent to Canberra for stronger advocation.

He said through the resources sector and the Great Barrier Reef the region had proved significant economic benefits to urban areas and was being short-changed.

"If we keep that paper trail going they'll just do more reports and studies, so we need better representation," Cr Williams said.

"A delegation, with the support of the local member, should head to Canberra and be really proactive to get that push happening."

Acting mayor, Cherie Rutherford, agreed that a seat at the table was important, as did Cr Rose Swadling who said "talk and walk" was needed.

Councillors delayed a resolution on the delegation in the absence of the mayor, who is on leave until today.

Capricornia MP, Michelle Landry said she welcomed the council's proactive approach.

She said it was important to keep going and push more of the bureaucracy out of the ivory towers of Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne and into the regions areas where their decisions had real impact.

"I hold open an invitation for any member of council to come to Canberra to help us advocate to get these agencies into regions like CQ," Ms Landry said.

"Recently, Cr Fisher made great inroads on other issues when he visited Canberra and I was very pleased to be able to help facilitate his visit."

In August last year, Senator Matt Canavan backed the relocation of a military regiment from Brisbane to Rockhampton.

Such a move would involve about 500 personnel and their families and be a major boost to the local economy.

"I fully support the relocation of a tank regiment here," Senator Canavan said last year.

"That would be hundreds of personnel, not just maintenance staff, but all the operators should be based up here.

"If I was made Defence Minister, that would be the first thing to do."

He said moving transport vehicles back and forwards from Brisbane every time there was a Shoalwater Bay exercise was "ridiculous".

But he warned the process was along one and would not happen in the next year or even two.

"We can't move people out of their homes in a matter of months, but long term we should be looking to get the whole regiment up here," he said.



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