Qld Govt unrepentant over council mergers

1st August 2007Despite the division created in the community over the forced mergers of regional councils and the personal abuse directed his way in recent months, Qld Local Government Minister, Andrew Fraser, says he would not do a thing differently.

The Qld council mergers became national news on Thursday, when:

• The ABC 7:30 Report featured the grassroots anger from shires.

Queensland Country Life hit the newsagents with a strong, front-page headline: ‘COMMUNITY KILLER’, alongside pictures of the protests across the state featuring banners shouting: ‘Amalgamation Kills Outback Towns’

Mr Fraser said, “Faced with the same set of circumstances about the need to act to achieve boundary reform, I would have made exactly the same decisions.

“Significant reform is always difficult.

“We knew that this would come at a cost to us politically.

“But in the end it’s the right thing to do.

“Politics should be about doing the right thing and not the easy thing.”

Mr Fraser believes most of the State, including many people in Western Queensland hot spots such as Barcaldine, support his actions.

“My view is, many people in Western Queensland do see the sense in the way the report is structured and do see the need for sensible reform,” he said.

“The vast bulk of Western Queensland (36 councils) has been left as it is and I don’t believe there is great opposition from that part of the state.”

SOURCE: Extract from a special report on council amalgamations in Queensland Country Life, August 2.