Attacks get local in QLD over Beattie’s Canberra push

By Julian Bajkowski

The saying goes that all politics is local and Queensland Minister for Local Government Community Recovery and Resilience, David Crisafulli is clearly a believer.

The man put in charge of deconstructing the former Labor government's deeply unpopular policy of welding local governments together has wasted no time in reminding his state’s councils and ratepayers of the bitter legacy of forced amalgamations pushed through by former Premier Peter Beattie.

Mr Beattie this morning announced he will return to politics by standing for the federal seat of Forde now held by the Liberal National Party {LNP).

His pre-selection for the seat comes as the Australian Labor Party and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd pull out all stops an attempt to pick up vital seats in Queensland by harnessing a community backlash against mass public sector sackings following the election of the Campbell Newman state government in 2012.

Labor is attempting to unseat LNP incumbent back bencher Bert van Manen who is sitting on a thin margin of 1.6 per cent in the outer suburban Brisbane electorate.

However the state LNP has responded in kind with Mr Crisafulli saying that Mr Beattie’s “legacy in local government” consisted of “councils had been shafted, then sacked.”

“With Rudd and Beattie we’ll have the execution followed by an apology,” Mr Crisafulli said.

“Mr Beattie running for Forde, despite him saying he would never stand for a Federal seat, will leave councils around Australia quaking in their seats.”

Queensland’s ‘big-bang’ approach to forcing local government mergers was supposed to have delivered efficiencies and savings that would be ploughed back into improved service delivery.

Instead, the arranged marriages were plagued by acrimony and often delivered a marked decline in council services and compounded by an increase in costs.

A key election promise by present Premier Campbell Newman was to undo the mergers and referenda are being held in councils areas where ratepayers want to divorce.

The negative impact of the forced local government mergers has been such that the New South Wales’ Coalition government has rapidly backed away from any suggestion of compelling similar amalgamations, opting for an overtly consultative approach with communities instead.

Comment below to have your say on this story.

If you have a news story or tip-off, get in touch at  

Sign up to the Government News newsletter

Leave a comment:

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required