De-amalgamation

Two contentious issues


On 27th July 5:00 pm, I emailed the CEO thanking Council for the opportunity to represent the 11,000 plus signatures from across the Fraser Coast and requested a Deputation on the Sports Precinct.

It was hoped that Council would show belief in their own decision making by conducting a poll/referendum on deamalgamation and by doing this; it would have assisted in repairing the damage from the previous dysfunctional council. As you would know trust is something that takes a long time to repair, it can, but will never be the same.

This issue has sustained the distance for a reason – people want transparency and accountability. It is not up to 11 people to decide the future direction of everyone’s lives; it is up to them to fully inform the 104,764 current community members, listen to them and then vote on their behalf.

People desire a referendum so Council can demonstrate they are listening.

To date wasteful council expenditure would far out way any costs to deamalgamate. It is my belief that before any further expensive reports are ordered, community consultation must take place to ensure that rate payers money is not squandered on unnecessary marketing, brochures etc on projects that are lacking community support.

Having witnessed several Councillors vote time and time again as divisional Councillors when the CEO has pointed out at a meeting, they are regional Councillors. No wonder the people ask questions and are pretty unhappy.

If population forecasts tell us by 2036 we will have 146,461 people living on the Fraser Coast, makes me think of future planning. i.e. Do we need more now? If the Council remains amalgamated will we require additional regional Councillors? Should we have full-time Councillors? (Stats are doctored all the time in favour of pushing things through, how accurate is this really? Isn’t a regional Councillor a full-time Councillor??)

Further to this, the petition also includes a request for Council to conduct a poll/referendum on the highly controversial sports precinct and requested for several community members to address council at Ordinary Meeting No. 11 on 16th August in Hervey Bay with a Deputation on the Fraser Coast Sports Precinct.
With a State Election happening we have missed the opportunity to have both these contentious issues placed on the ballot paper – reducing costs significantly as opposed to conducting separately.

There should also be included a current poll/referendum on the maximum height / number of storeys in Hervey Bay and on the Hervey Bay Foreshore. Do 20 storey developments also apply to Maryborough and on the Mary River? Does it also apply to any regional locality i.e. Maaroom, Dundowran Beach, River Heads, K’Gari (Fraser Island) etc? More importantly does the significance of the town plan mean anything when it can be changed at whim to accommodate a development application, especially without proper community consultation? And does the minimum 35 metre distance mean nothing at the end of the day? More to be discussed on this in separate post.

The CEO discussed the deputation request with the Mayor and he decided (in accordance with Standing order 16.2) not to allow the deputation on the Sports Precinct.

The reasoning for his decision is as follows:
1. The Council has considered the development of the Sports Precinct on numerous occasions already and has resolved to proceed with the development
2. The Council is now contractually committed to the development of the Sports Precinct

While the Mayor did not provide his consent to the proposed deputation, the CEO would be pleased to receive my correspondence on the matter.

I was gobsmacked so on the 2nd August I emailed the Mayor:

Good Afternoon Chris,

Is the below true?

a) Are you not allowing the Deputation on the Sports Precinct to give the people a say?

The reasoning for the decision is as follows:

1. The Council has considered the development of the Sports Precinct on numerous occasions already and has resolved to proceed with the development.

2. The Council is now contractually committed to the development of the Sports Precinct.

After running your election campaign based pretty much solely on the fact you would do everything possible for the people to stop the sports precinct. I cannot believe you would take away the opportunity from community to have a say, which they are entitled to.

The Sports Precinct could be stopped at any stage with a vote. A new Council could potentially vote to block it for a four-year period or longer. Or possibly sooner if we go to a state election and /or bi-election.

The full amount has not been allocated or even voted on. There is at a minimum $30 – $40 million more required to complete the project plus ongoing maintenance costs that are not accounted for, not voted on, not in a business plan, not contractually committed or even in a budget.

b) Would you please explain how council is contractually committed?
The council is only contractually committed to preliminary earthworks which would certainly compliment a hemp farm. Did you know a hemp processing plant is only $3 million, far more cost effective and beneficial for the entire community? #boosteconomy #supportfarmers #jobs #jobs and more #jobs

Out of respect for the signatories it is important I continue to represent them and upon receipt of your response I will be issuing a media release on this prolonged public dispute.

c) Please explain a deputation on deamalgamation that has been contractually committed too since 2008; is approved but not the Sports Precinct?

Your urgent attention to this would be appreciated. This issue is very clearly not supported by the community and it is not too late to put a stop to it and the people deserve a say/referendum – once and for all to give an exact measurement of any support; either for or against before any further monies are spent/committed to this project.

No response so on the 14th August I forwarded the following:
Chris would you respond to my email dated 2nd August this instant please?

No response so on the 29th August I sent a further email:
Chris I will be needing a response for this today as I will be issuing a media release within 24 hours.

On 31st I received a response:
Sorry I am not in a position to answer this today.
There is lots going on in establishing the new way forward for our region.
Thanks
Chris

So there you go folks, #no consultation, #no deputation, #no sound reasoning and #no community representation.

#fcrc #sportsprecinct #deamalgamation #referendum #storeys #politicalnews

Residents taking concerns to MPs

Community consultation with Maryborough residents

Maryborough residents held a community meeting on Sunday hosted by Fraser District Community Voice (FDCV) and discussed a range of issues. Councillor James Hansen must be congratulated for attending and providing helpful and trusted information.

The contentious sports precinct and deamalgamation from the Fraser Coast Regional Council were the hot topics for the afternoon. 7 News Wide Bay, WIN News and the Fraser Coast Chronicle arrived before the meeting and remained until they interviewed several people after the meeting had closed.

During the meeting a resolution for several delegates to meet with Members of Parliament Ted Sorensen and Bruce Saunders to discuss the concerns and legislation surrounding deamalgamation.

Both 7 and WIN ran stories on their respective news broadcasts on Monday evening. Click here to view 7 News coverage

#deamalgamation  #NO2sportsprecinct  #politicalnews

FCRC to conduct 2 polls

PETITION

If you are not one of the 9% who only care if your water runs, toilet flushes and the lights come on and you wish to be heard on these 2 contentious issues; please sign, like  and share. 

Fraser Coast Regional Council conduct 2 polls to gauge exactly what the community wants:

1.  Referendum to put in abeyance the development of the Hervey Bay sports precinct and stop all further development of the above until the people have had their say.
2.  Referendum on the separation of the Maryborough Region (Tiaro, Woocoo shires) from Hervey Bay.

Click on image or here for petition

Hard copies can be download here, distributed and printed for those that do not have internet access. FCRC Poll Petition__hardcopy_24_05_17

 

QLGRA address in Maryborough

Thank you Michael Weekes for reading this for me at the Queensland Local Government Reform Alliance meeting in Maryborough 10th September 2016

de-amalgamation-300x169

 

Unfortunately I was unable to return from Victoria so I could attend this important Community Meeting, please accept my apologies.

Study after study has found that the benefits of regional amalgamation have failed to materialise. Costs generally increase after amalgamation, largely due to a harmonisation of costs and wages, and increases in service-efficiency remain elusive. The transitional costs after amalgamation are often quite high and, in some cases, reduce or even eliminate any anticipated immediate cost savings.

Mounting evidence suggests that amalgamation on the Fraser Coast – Three quarters of the Wide Bay is part of this Council and has not led to more efficient service production or delivery. Regional mergers reduce competition between regions, which weakens incentives for efficiency and responsiveness to local needs, while also reducing the choice for residents to find a community that best matches their ideal taxation and service rates.

Since regional mergers rarely result in boundaries that encompass the entire region, externalities may still exist in transportation and land-use planning. Regional amalgamations have sometimes forced rural residents to pay for urban services they do not have access to.

With so many negative aspects, it’s no surprise that local restructuring proposals have often been met with stiff resistance from local residents. It also comes as no surprise that many residents argue that their communities were better off prior to consolidation. In the wake of lingering resentment regarding amalgamation, de-amalgamation is often suggested as a solution.

We have seen the call for de-amalgamation emerge in many cities and towns across Queensland. There is no reason why de-amalgamation cannot be pursued. Provincial governments have the ability to amalgamate regions and, therefore, also have the ability to separate them.

The difficulty in successfully implementing de-amalgamation means that amalgamation is something that cannot, and should not be easily entered into. More care needs to be taken in finding the best institutional structure for our local government.

Chris Loft was asked for his standing on a referendum for de-amalgamation of Maryborough, Tiaro and Woocoo Shires and boundaries joined to make one city preelection and writes “Yes let the process begin. We must listen to community.” So why did he vote against it? Anne Maddern Councillor for Division 2 sitting under the allocated Small Communities portfolio is trying to represent her communities aspirations, but unfortunately not many of her fellow colleagues do not seem to be supporting her which in turn means they are telling the community we are not listening. We don’t care, we will do what we want!

What are they scared of? Is the Council worried they may get a drop in pay? There is no reason why Council cannot have a conversation about this with people and initiate a poll considering in excess of 9,000 people wanting it that I know of. Under the LGA Councillors have to listen and report back to the people. They have failed Chapter 14,2 C Democratic representation, social inclusion, and meaningful community engagement.

Unless we have ALL Councillors embracing The FIVE Local Government Principles underpinning the Local Government Act 2009, we will continue to not have our voices heard. The only way forward is to either:

1. Have a Council that has:
a) transparent and effective processes, and decision-making in the public interest
b) sustainable development and management of assets and infrastructure, and delivery of
effective services
c) democratic representation, social inclusion and meaningful community engagement
d) good governance of and by local government
e) ethical and legal behaviour of Councillors and local government employees.

OR

2. Have our councils re-instated under old shire boundaries.

I support the rights of communities to determine their own future as an independent local government area.

Council should at least explore de-amalgamation

MEDIA RELEASE

Study after study has found that the benefits of regional amalgamation have failed to materialise. Costs generally increase after amalgamation, largely due to a harmonisation of costs and wages, and increases in service-efficiency remain elusive. The transitional costs after amalgamation are often quite high and, in some cases, reduce or even eliminate any anticipated immediate cost savings.

Mounting evidence suggests that amalgamation on the Fraser Coast – Three quarters of the Wide Bay is part of this Council and has not led to more efficient service production or delivery. Regional mergers reduce competition between regions, which weakens incentives for efficiency and responsiveness to local needs, while also reducing the choice for residents to find a community that best matches their ideal taxation and service rates. Since regional mergers rarely result in boundaries that encompass the entire region, externalities may still exist in transportation and land-use planning. Regional amalgamations have sometimes forced rural residents to pay for urban services they do not have access to.

With so many negative aspects, it’s no surprise that local restructuring proposals have often been met with stiff resistance from local residents. It also comes as no surprise that many residents argue that their communities were better off prior to consolidation. In the wake of lingering resentment regarding amalgamation, de-amalgamation is often suggested as a solution.

We have seen the call for de-amalgamation emerge in many cities and towns across Queensland. There is no reason why de-amalgamation cannot be pursued. Provincial governments have the ability to amalgamate regions and, therefore, also have the ability to separate them.

The difficulty in successfully implementing de-amalgamation means that amalgamation is something that cannot, and should not be easily entered into. More care needs to be taken in finding the best institutional structure for our local government.

Chris Loft was asked for his standing on a referendum for de-amalgamation of Maryborough, Tiaro and Woocoo Shires and boundaries joined to make one city pre-election and writes “Yes let the process begin. We must listen to community.” So why did he vote against it?

Anne Maddern Councillor for Division 2 sitting under the allocated Small Communities portfolio is trying to represent her communities aspirations, but unfortunately not many of her fellow colleagues do not seem to be supporting her which in turn means they are telling the community we are not listening. We don’t care, we will do what we want!

What are they scared of? Is the Council worried they may get a drop in pay? There is no reason why Council cannot have a conversation about this with people and initiate a poll considering in excess of 9,000 people wanting it that I know of. Under the LGA Councillors have to listen and report back to the people. They have failed Chapter 14,2 C Democratic representation, social inclusion, and meaningful community engagement.

Click here for Fraser Coast Chronicle article – Monday 20th June 2016

Cliff petition_Bruce

Clifford Thomas handing Bruce Sanders Maryborough MP 8000 plus signatures