24th September 2007Over 700 000 people and 87 Councils have demanded a say on forced council amalgamations by engaging the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) to conduct plebiscites of electors in their area,” Shadow Minister for Main Roads and Local Government, Howard Hobbs said today.
“Councils affected in the South West who have asked for a plebiscite include Chinchilla, Tara, Murilla, Warroo, Booringa, Bendemere and Bungil,” Mr Hobbs said.
Mr Hobbs said this is an overwhelming response from the communities and their councils who want to have a say on the Bligh Labor Government’s pursuit of the forced council amalgamations agenda that will radically change their communities.
Mr Hobbs said it was an outrageous situation where if councillors sought to undertake their own polls of electors they faced the sack under by the State Labor Government.
The Prime Minister’s intervention has now ensured that councils and people will have a say on what happens to their community through the AEC without the treat of fines or dismissal.
The following question will be put to the electors by the AEC in each respective council area –
“Do you support the Queensland Government’s decision to amalgamate your Council with other Council areas?”
“Electors will be informed of the plebiscite, every elector will have one vote and electors will be provided with a reasonable opportunity to vote through a full postal ballot,” Mr Hobbs said.
“The ballot will be secret and scrutineers can be appointed,” he said.
Mr Hobbs said in the South West, Council areas such as Balonne, Paroo and Bulloo have not been affected by boundary changes, however non boundary affected councils have expressed a desire and may participate in future plebiscites of their electors because of other changes that have occurred to divisions and councillor numbers.
Mr Hobbs said the non boundary affected Councils have indicated that they will defer their request to the AEC until after the 87 Councils have conducted their plebiscites.
Media contact: Howard Hobbs 46 22 88 88