Joyce joins special Govt forum
SENATOR Barnaby Joyce will join a long list of distinguished speakers as they spearhead a forum tackling the issues surrounding local government amalgamations.
Hosted by the Return Our Shires Action Group (ROSAG), the local government forum will focus on the economic reasons for amalgamation.
ROSAG spokeswoman Mary Rofe said Mr Joyce's involvement was warranted because he was the opposition spokesman for local government.
"Our chairman Bob Johnson approached him before Christmas and said what we were planning to do and he was more than happy to be involved," she said.
"He has foreshadowed a focus on Federal Assistance Grants and maintains that they should be indexed, not to the CPI, but to average weekly earnings so that local authorises get a fair share of the taxes.
Mrs Rofe said other big political names would also be attending.
"We have Bruce Scott opening proceedings and I believe Lawrence Springborg will be there for a time," she said.
"Unfortunately we chose a day with other things on but they will be there for as long as they can."
Mrs Rofe said they were not aiming to change things overnight but hoped that those in charge would reassess whey they made the decision to refuse the Stanthorpe de-amalgamation proposal as well as those of many other areas in Queensland.
"We hope in the future it will lead to allowing areas to prove they can be economically viable," she said.
Other special speakers include University of New England Centre for Local Government director professor Brian Dollery, Australian Catholic University Public Policy Institute professor Dr Scott Prasser and University of Southern Queensland Business and Law associate professor Geoff Cockfield.
"We have three mayors from different local government areas and several councillors attending but unfortunately none of our local councillors have signified they will be able to attend," Mrs Rofe said.
Mrs Rofe said the community's reaction to the forum had been largely positive.
"At this stage we have about 100 people attending," she said.
When: Saturday, 9am-3.30pm
Where: Stanthorpe Civic Centre
Cost: $35 a person, register at Sue's Fruit at the Stanthorpe Plaza or at the door on the day
Includes: Morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea