David Lee, Heather Colyer, Ron McLean and Ray McNicoll were angry at the final decision made by councillors.
David Lee, Heather Colyer, Ron McLean and Ray McNicoll were angry at the final decision made by councillors. Marian Faa

Leaders 'forced' to make difficult decision on demerger

THE question of whether or not to support de-amalgamation is one they should never have faced, local politicians said as they were forced to give an official response to the controversial proposal.

Councillor Cameron Gow, who voted against a motion to oppose the de-amalgamation proposal said he did not believe it was appropriate to be making this kind of decision.

"I don't believe it is council's role to be making a decision on behalf of the community on such a significant issue," Cr Gow said.

"The State Government made the decision (to amalgamate) in 2007 without reference or request of motion from councils.

"In fact at the time they were advised ... that if councillors made those decisions they could very well have lost their jobs.

"I think that is a bit of a turnaround for the minister to now say that it is the role and responsibility of local government to make that decision."

 

CEO David Keenan and Southern Downs Mayor Tracy Dobie.
CEO David Keenan and Southern Downs Mayor Tracy Dobie. Marian Faa

Local politicians were put in the difficult position after the Department of Local Government required the council to deliver an official position on the proposal as part of the de-amalgamation process.

The comments were backed by Cr Yve Stocks, who voted in favour of the motion that did not support the de-amalgamation proposal.

"It is the responsibility of the state government to make this decision but not ours," Cr Yve Stocks said at the general council meeting yesterday," she said.

The GBCA report, along with the council's official vote of non-support will now go to the Minister for Local Government for further review.



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