By Angela Dorizas in Cairns
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has rebuffed the Liberal-National Party proposal to de-amalgamate councils across the state.
LNP’s de-amalgamation plans were announced earlier by Oppositon Leader Lawrence Springborg at the annual conference of the Local Government Associaiton of Queensland.
The Premier told conference delegates that state government would not back down on its reform of local government.
“This is Lawrence Springborg looking to the past. Our government is firmly fixed on the future,” Ms Bligh said.
“My government will be looking squarely at the future of local government. We will not be looking to the past. We will not be working to unscramble the egg.”
The Premier said amalgamation was a “painful” process for local government, but the reforms were delivering strong regional councils.
“We believe local government has a stronger future because of amalgamations,” she said.
“Queensland is growing faster than anywhere else in the country and we need councils that have the financial grunt and the political capacity to deal with the big challenges.”
The LGAQ also rejected Springborg’s de-amalgamation plan. LGAQ president Cr Paul Bell said local government is not seeking de-amalgamation.
“De-amalgation has never been a proposition that has been presented to our association,” Cr Bell said.
“It is one that I have never seen put forward by any of the local governments that I have visited or met with throughout the state.
“As the president of the LGAQ I have certainly indicated to all mayors and councillors that this is a time to be moving forward, to keep looking to the future and to make sure that we can roll out the effectiveness and the efficiencies of our sphere of government that the people who elected us want us to do.”
He said the de-amalgamation proposition was more likely to resonate with local communities dealing with the consequences of amalgamation.
“We certainly have heard, though, the noise of some communities who feel that they have been possibly dealt badly with during the process and are looking for a proposition of some form of de-amalgamation in the future.”
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