Showdown on council amalgamations brought forward

13th June 2007The Qld Government has brought forward a meeting-of-minds between disaffected western Queensland mayors and rural organisations over the smouldering issue of forced council amalgamations.

Originally penciled in towards the end of the month, AgForce president, Peter Kenny, says he will now champion a deputation to Brisbane that will meet with Premier Beattie next Tuesday, June 19, in a bid to convince him of the serious social impacts likely to flow from the creation of ‘super-shires’ in regional Queensland.

The lobby group maintains its milestone Blueprint for the Bush document, struck between AgForce and the State Government, in a bid to ensure the delivery of a number of key rural projects, is not in jeopardy – although the relationship is coming under increasing strain.

Peter Kenny says he used a recent phone call to Premier Beattie to remind him that his government and AgForce were in partnership with respect to the Blueprint’s agenda.

“He (the Premier) said, ‘You can lead a deputation from the bush mayors, and extend it to other groups like the CWA and ICPA,’ for early next week,” Mr Kenny said.

“There’s been a lack of democracy over the whole issue of forced amalgamations.

“We want him to address it,” he added.

AgForce says its Blueprint for the Bush initiative clearly states the services of western Queensland have to be increased, not decreased.

The Local Government Reform Commission is on track to release maps denoting the new shire boundaries on August 1.

SOURCE: Queensland Country Life