Noosa residents will go to the polls to decide if they return to their old shire.
Local Government Minister David Crisafulli today announced the Boundaries Commissioner had recommended Noosa go to a referendum.
“The Government has always been firm that despite the brutality of the forced amalgamations in 2008, we would prefer regional councils to work,” Mr Crisafulli said.
“We’ve also said we’ll give communities the opportunity to vote where there’s a chance a viable council could be created.
“For Noosa, its case is the strongest in the state.
“But a decision needs to be taken with all the facts on the table, and people will have to make a judgement about whether reverting to an independent council is worth the cost.”
The Boundaries Commissioner Col Meng handed Mr Crisafulli the report on November 28, which recommended only Noosa go to a referendum.
Mr Crisafulli has decided that Noosa, Livingstone, Mareeba and Douglas will all go to a vote, but Isis will not because of financial restrictions.
For Noosa, Queensland Treasury Corporation (QTC) found the initial cost to de-amalgamate would be $13,651,000 or an extra $260 per ratepayer in the first year.
There would also be ongoing costs of an extra $142 per ratepayer in the following years, rising with inflation.
Mr Meng and QTC have spent the past two months working with proponents, stakeholders and Sunshine Coast Regional Council to all of the costs involved.
The Commissioner’s report included:
· wage costs for a Mayor and Councillors
· wage costs for council staff
· cost of equipment and IT
· cost of de-amalgamation to the remaining council
· cost of conducting a referendum
· ongoing costs, such as annual licencing fees and insurance
“No doubt there are costs, but if the community feels that the pain in the pocket is worth the price for an independent council area, they’ll get their old council back,” Mr Crisafulli said.
Mr Crisafulli rated the likelihood of each proposed new council achieving a sustainable future:
|Council||Chances of long-term viability|
Only residents in the former council area will vote, with a referendum to be held in the first quarter of 2013. Voting will be compulsory.
The Mayor of the Sunshine Coast Mark Jamieson has held a press conference where he made this statement.
Mayor Mark Jamieson said the decision by the Minister for Local Government to grant a de-amalgamation vote to the people of Noosa is an important one.
“The result will not only affect the people of Noosa – but all residents of the Sunshine Coast,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“I think it’s important for the people who get to vote – and those who don’t – to understand exactly what the costs are, and how they will be affected.
“The Boundary Commissioner’s report has only been released a short while ago, and I will examine it closely before getting into the detail of the document.
“But I am worried about some of the concerns identified by the Commissioner, in particular:
- The questions about the financial sustainability of both councils – the report says one strong council would be turned into two weaker councils
- The questions raised about the ability to deliver key regional projects such as the airport expansion, development of Maroochydore CBD
- The detrimental effect of levels of service on tourism
- The reduced capacity of council to contribute to the economic development of this area
“I was elected as the Mayor of the whole Sunshine Coast, including Noosa and I will continue to represent the whole region to the best of my ability.
“Every decision I make will be continue to be with the best interests of this region at heart.
“That’s what I was elected to do, that’s what I have been doing and that’s what I’ll continue to do.
“The council team and I will continue to focus on getting on with job of creating the right environment for investment and jobs, and building a community second to none.
“This work is so important it simply can’t be put on hold – and we will continue to get on with the job of creating opportunities for people on the Sunshine Coast.
“I have consistently said, and Sunshine Coast Council has consistently said it respects the state government process around this issue.
“Council has co-operated fully with this process and will continue to do so.
“Council’s position, has been clear on de-amalgamation – it would prefer it to stay as one united council for one united region.”
And this via Free Noosa