NO SUPPORT: Minister for Local Government Stirling Hinchliffe with Southern Downs Mayor Tracy Dobie.
NO SUPPORT: Minister for Local Government Stirling Hinchliffe with Southern Downs Mayor Tracy Dobie. Contributed

Minister makes de-amalgamation decision


LOCAL Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe has explained his reasoning behind his de-amalgamation decision.

In the end, he said the financial analysis wasn't strong enough for him to send the proposal to the Change Commission.

"After carefully evaluating all the matters I had before me, I've decided not to refer this case to the Change Commission.

"Everyone involved in this proposal has known from the start that any proposal for change needs to stack up financially and have the support of the affected councils.

"This is in line with long-standing government policy, including the previous government's policy.”


MANY unanswered questions in the de-amalgamation debate will remain just that, unanswered, following Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe's announcement that he won't refer the proposal to the Change Commission.

The Granite Belt Community Association were notified of the decision yesterday afternoon in a letter.

Association president Rev Alan Colyer said they're disappointed by the outcome, given, in his opinion, the decision was made using flawed evidence.

"We are particularly disappointed that the Minister has chosen to not consider the GBCA's response to the SDRC Management Review and the recently released critique of the Queensland Treasury Corporation (QTC) report which clearly outlined the many significant flaws within the QTC report,” he said.

"Instead, the two critiques of the GBCA proposal, the SDRC Management Review and the SDRC commissioned Grassroots Connections Group were considered along with the QTC report. This decision was essentially based on the QTC report which is flawed and on the SDRC vote which was based on the same flawed QTC report.”

GBCA secretary Amanda Harrold said they'll pursue a number of avenues of investigation and appeal.

"The desire of this community to de-amalgamate has not lessened but gained further support,” she said.

"It is disappointing that the Minister has not referred our proposal to the Change Commission for an independent review. There are still so many unanswered questions which remain and will not be put to rest. Our community deserves the answers and the change commission would have been able to address these to the satisfaction of the community.

"Our voices were overlooked with the forced amalgamations, and they are being overlooked now. As witnessed at the recent federal election, the local and state government needs to start listening to the people and treating them with respect, or else they might be in for a big surprise at the elections next year themselves.

"Given that we are not the only community pushing for de-amalgamation, the debacle of Ipswich and Logan Council's and the recent release of the Local Government Report by the Queensland Audit Office, it is obvious that there is a crisis in Local Government which needs to be urgently addressed by the State Government.

"The people have awoken and will not be content to sit back silently any more.”

The Border Post has contacted Minister Hinchliffe's office for comment and is awaiting a response.

- Matthew Purcell, Stanthorpe Border Post