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THE COUNTRYMAN

NEWS

 

Selwyn Johnston

INDEPENDENT COMMUNITY REPRESENTATIVES'

ADVOCATE

(Cairns... Far North Queensland)

 

Thank you for visiting my on-line office. 

I appreciate your interest in the issues that effect not only Queenslanders, but all Australians. 

Please let me hear from you about your views on the issues that matter to your Family, your Community and your State.  

Sincerely,

Selwyn Johnston

 

One person, with the support of the community, can make a difference

 

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COUNCIL AMALGAMATIONS - FOREWARNED IS FOREARMED

QUEENSLAND LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Residents of Queensland will be aware that there are undeniable problems with the administration of some of Queensland’s local Councils. It could be suggested that the present list of those that are being looked into should be increased, but that claim is for another day.  

But for all of us, whatever our views, we should be aware that as well as looking at the Local authorities because of their management, or lack of it, the State Government has a second agenda and that relates to Local Government amalgamations.  

Let’s put some things on the record.  

Firstly, I believe that the closer a representative is to his/her electorate, the better will be the quality of the representation.  

Secondly, I personally have no problem with our present system of Local Government in so far as representation is concerned. By this I mean the numbers are about right for the style of Government and provided every elected person works for the electorate, as distinct from any other interest, then the present system should work.  

Finally, it pays us to realise that if a higher level of Government decides it is going to do something at a lower level of government then you can be pretty well assured that it will happen irrespective of the wishes of the local people. This can be done because most people, not in the effected area, take only a passing interest in the difficulties of another area. This is fair enough as gratuitous intervention can often be most unwelcome. 

This is why it is important that we know exactly what the State government’s agenda is. If it is to clean up a bit of errant administration in some local authorities then let’s co-operate with them. However on the other hand should overall amalgamation be their goal then it is our right as ratepayers, and taxpayers, to know and to be able to have a look at it and see how it affects us. What we don’t want to be doing is looking at an “administrative” matter when what is being dealt with is a “re-organisational” matter. 

Amalgamation of local authority areas, aka “the re-organisational matter”, has been with us for years. Many will recall that Gough Whitlam had a plan for regionalisation and at the time maps of Queensland were floating about defining the proposed regions. The idea had some merit, as there are areas of interest that go beyond a single local authority area. The suggestion in Whitlam’s time however caused considerable unrest as people were not sure where it would end and how it would affect them.  

It is of interest to note that Prime Minister John Howard has repeatedly said that if he were redesigning the Australian Constitution then there would be NO provision for any States. 

Since that time a ‘regional system’ of Local Government has been introduced which is known as the Regional Organisation of Councils (ROC) system and that seems to be working quite well.  

There are currently a total of 64 ROC’s around Australia with Queensland having 18 ROC’s listed as follows: 

  1. Border ROC (BROC)
  2. Central Highlands Development Corporation
  3. Central Queensland Local Government Association (CQROC)
  4. Central Western QLD Remote Area Planning and Development Board (RAPAD ROC)
  5. Council of Mayors - South East Queensland
  6. Darling Downs Regional Organisation of Councils (DDROC)
  7. Far North Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils
  8. Gulf Savannah Development Inc (GSD)
  9. Health and Environmental Services Nth Qld (HESROC)
  10. Maranoa and District Regional Organisation of Councils (MDA)
  11. North Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils
  12. Northern Regional Organisation of Councils (NORSROC)
  13. Regional Organisation of Councils of Cape York
  14. Southern Regional Organisation of Councils (SROC)
  15. Western Downs Regional Organisation of Councils
  16. Western Subregional Organisation of Councils (WESROC)
  17. Whitsunday Hinterland & Mackay Bowen Regional Organisation of Councils
  18. Wide Bay Burnett Regional Organisation of Councils (WBBROC)

  The FNQROC regional councils consists of...  

Atherton Shire Council;
Cairns City Council;
Cardwell Shire Council;
Douglas Shire Council;
Eacham Shire Council;
Herberton Shire Council;
Johnstone Shire Council;
Mareeba Shire Council and
Torres Shire Council

There is currently only one (1) FNQ mayor supportive of a SUPER Council by cherry-picking adjoining tourism towns, however that mayor is renowned as being an egomaniac with illusions of grandeur, so he doesn't get a guernsey from non-recalcitrant mayors when it comes to making any real decisions! 

One thing for sure is that if the State Government is minded to go the way of amalgamation, then local Councils must be put on notice so as to achieve the most beneficial result for local ratepayers who, after all, pay the bills incurred by local Councils. 

 

SEE ALSO:    FORCED COUNCIL AMALGAMATIONS IN QUEENSLAND

                         PROPOSED LOCAL GOVERNMENT AMALGAMATIONS

 

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Written and Authorised by Selwyn Johnston, Cairns FNQ 4870