Springborg’s de-amalgamation plans

By Angela Dorizas in Cairns

If elected next year, Queensland’s newly merged Liberal-National Party will allow councils across the state to de-amalgamate. Leader of the Opposition, Lawrence Springborg, announced the LNP’s de-amalgamation policy at the annual conference of the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) in Cairns.

The announcement came in response to a challenge by the Minister of Main Roads and Local Government, Warren Pitt, to outline the LNP’s policy on local government.

“You would almost have to live in a cocoon to actually believe that the LNP wouldn’t have a policy on de-amalgamation,” Mr Springborg said.

“Our position is on the record. It is on the record publicly, it’s on the record in the media, it is also on the record in Parliament.”

Mr Springborg said that if elected the LNP would enable an independent review of amalgamated councils wishing to de-amalgamate.

"Enabling communities who wish to de-amalgamate…is something that we are principally very much committed to,” he said.

"But I want to make this point today that the mechanism that we put in place will not guarantee automatic de-amalgamation.

“There will be a process where those communities and those councils that actually have a desire to rearrange their boundaries have to be able suit a set of criteria.”

Mr Springborg said that the 2007 Commonwealth funded plebiscites would serve as a basis for the de-amalgamation process.

“We cannot ignore the fact that in many areas around QLD we saw people in communities vote overwhelmingly, 70, 80 and in the high 90 per cents against the government’s forced amalgamation process,” he said.|

“The Commonwealth funded plebiscites will actually form the basis for us to be able to establish a truly independent local boundaries authority to be able to look at the issues which have arisen in those communities where plebiscites were held.

“If they deem that the issues continue to resound within that community we will come forward  with options with regards to ensuring a proper distribution of local government boundaries in that particular area.

“But again, I will make the point that doesn’t mean necessarily that those communities which voted so overwhelmingly against forced amalgamation are going to be all de-amalgamated.”

Mr Springborg said that the amalgamation of councils across QLD was a political move by the current state government.

"We don’t appreciate the fact that local government in QLD has been used as a political football,” he said.

"The whole heart and soul and basic makeup of local government has changed profoundly in the last 12 to 18 months in regards to a very, very significant forced amalgamation process which has left a lot of animosity and a lot of concern, a lot of heart ache and a lot of people very disappointed in communities right across the state of Queensland.”

Mr Springborg also announced plans to double entrench local government in the QLD Constitution, introduce bulk purchasing of local government infrastructure and give councils greater responsibility for planning.

Comment below to have your say on this story.

If you have a news story or tip-off, get in touch at editorial@governmentnews.com.au.  

Sign up to the Government News newsletter

Leave a comment:

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