Region split our call, says mayor

Mayor Peter Blundell
Mayor Peter Blundell Glyn Rees

A PETITION with nearly 7000 signatures in support of the de-amalgamation of Warwick and Stanthorpe would be needed to start the process off, under rules released by the State Government yesterday.

Upholding a promise to give councils which merged in 2008 under the Bligh Government the option of splitting, the LNP government of Campbell Newman yesterday appointed a Boundary Commissioner to oversee the process.

Former Mackay Mayor Col Meng has the unenviable task of guiding councils which choose to break up through the potentially messy business, with Local Government Minister David Crisafulli saying it could be "brutal".

A referendum would be held next year in council regions where 20 per cent of residents support putting it to a vote, through the signing of a petition.

The referendum would then need to deliver at least 51% support for de-amalgamation and councils would have to bear the full cost.

Mayor Peter Blundell yesterday said the petition would need to be instigated by the community.

"We would not be pushing it from within council," Cr Blundell said.

"Personally, I feel it would be too difficult and costly to de-amalgamate, but I've said all along council will be guided by the community.

"If people wish to go down that path we'll listen."

With the Southern Downs population standing at around 34,500, a successful petition would require roughly 6900 signatures, which the mayor described as a "significant" amount.

He also urged caution given the likely stratospheric cost of breaking up the forced Warwick-Stanthorpe merger.

"As well as a cost to de-amalgamate, there would be a cost involved in working how much it would be," Cr Blundell said.

"I think we also need to consider what going back to being two small councils would mean when it comes to effectively lobbying higher levels of government."

The mayor said he was only detecting a small level of support for de-amalgamation at both ends of the region.

Former Stanthorpe Shire councillor and amalgamation opponent John Boucher last night said a lot of people at the Granite Belt end of the region would still prefer to be a separate shire.

But he said getting 20 per cent of the region's overall population to initiate a referendum could be a tough ask if the cost of a split was felt to be "onerous".

"It really depends on what sort of cost it would entail," Mr Boucher said.

"They've had one term to achieve greater efficiencies and it doesn't seem to have happened.

"I think the region is just too big - the councillors are spending a huge amount of time simply travelling to and from meetings and visiting constituents."

Local Government Association of Queensland president Paul Bell yesterday welcomed Mr Meng's appointment as Boundary Commissioner, but warned de-amalgamation would be "no bed of roses".

"The high cost will certainly have residents thinking twice before they tick a box saying they want to go back to the way things were before," Cr Bell said.

Queensland councils which have foreshadowed a possible de-merger include Noosa and Port Douglas, with Redcliffe keen to secede from the Moreton Bay Regional Council, which could cost as much as $8 million alone.

Topics:  de-amalgamation mayor peter blundell

The obligatory rodeo wet weather plan

Rider takes on the challenge of the bareback pony contest at the Cowboys Rodeo.

The essential wet weather guide to the Warwick Rodeo.

Musicians ready to rock out our rodeo

READY FOR RODEO: Col Finley and his band will be taking centre stage tonight.

Musicians take stage to deliver A+ entertainment.

New Warwick memorial to remember service

PLEASED: Veterans Jim O'Leary, Phil Agnew, David Watt and Jade Dunford stand in front of where the new memorial wall will be erected.

A memorial wall is approved to be erected in Leslie Park.

Local Partners

Australia Day Award nominations now open

ALL those who know someone who has made an outstanding contribution to the Warwick community is encouraged to nominate them for an Australia Day Award.

WATCH: NASA space station is live, see the view from above

In this picture taken from NASA's International Space Station from April 2015, the SpaceX Dragon is captured with the 57.7-foot-long Canadarm2 robotic arm before its installation to the Harmony module.

See the world from a new perspective as space station passes Rocky

Events you need to be at this week...

Some Australian sevens rugby squad members will be in Warwick this weekend.

It won't be all rodeo in Warwick this weekend

He's here for the Melbourne Cup of campdrafting

David Thorn from Cootamundra on Oh How Foxy.

David Thorn is here to make the most of the Warwick Rodeo.

Angus T. Jones got miserable on Two and a Half Men

Child star's misery while shooting 'Two and a Half Men'

Bachelorette shock: "This isn't how it's supposed to go!"

Georgia Love pictured in a scene from The Bachelorette finale.

GEORGIA chooses Lee and leaves Matty J heartbroken.

Radio presenter's shocking joke about Dreamworld victims

Images from the scene after four people died on a ride at Dreamworld at the Gold Coast

Radio host taken off air after tactless Dreamworld joke

The Bachelorette fans rally around devastated Matty J

The Bachelorette runner-up Matty Johnson.

CALLS for reality dating show's runner-up to be the next Bachelor.

The Bachelorette finale: Georgia declares her love for Lee

Georgia Love with The Bachelorette winner Lee Elliott.

MATTY J left heartbroken in emotional grand final.

Buy your own brothel: Scarlet Harem for sale

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS: The Coast's first brothel, Scarlet Harem at Kunda Park, is up for sale.

Coast brothel madam sells up

Want to own one of Australia's best restaurants?

TOP GONG: Mooloolaba Spice Bar has been named in TripAdvisor's Top 10 Australian restaurants for 2016.

Here's your chance to pick up one of the Coast's favourite eateries

Tough times in CBD: Woolies says goodbye Ipswich

Woolworths in the Ipswich Mall.Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

The last day of trading will be January 1

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

How to fit 100,000 new homes on the Coast

Property, real estate, housing, suburb,  August 2016

Fitting 2m extra people in south-east Qld in 25 years a balance

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?