Letter to Chambers of Commerce

14 May 2014

The Secretary
Chamber of Commerce

Dear Sir/Madam,

We are writing to introduce the Queensland Local Government Reform Alliance (QLGRA) to you and the members of your Chamber of Commerce.

The QLGRA was established in July 2013 in response to the plight of shires that were forcibly amalgamated in 2008 by the previous Labor Party government and were then denied the opportunity to de-amalgamate contrary to the promise of the current LNP government.

Amalgamation has had remarkably similar effects wherever it was implemented. Common experiences include but are not limited to:
• The loss of contact with a locally based Mayor and Councillors;
• The loss of council expenditure to the new central regional town. All types of businesses are affected – banks, post offices, newsagencies, florists, lawyers, schools, mechanical workshops etc;
• Reduction in economic development in the affected town;
• The potential sale of local council offices and other assets.

A functioning council office in a small town is a corner stone of democracy, development, community caring and disaster management. The aims of the QLGRA to remedy this are listed overleaf.

In this letter we ask your organisation to do two things:
Firstly to consider joining QLGRA as a full or associate member. A full member would view the aims of QLGRA (see over) as a primary purpose of their organisation. A full member has voting rights. Associate membership is open to organisations who agree with the aims of QLGRA but for whom this is not their primary purpose. We also have individual memberships for those interested.

Secondly, to please complete the attached survey. The information will assist QLGRA to further understand the issues caused by amalgamations. Answers will be kept confidential if requested. Please complete even if you do not intend to join.

Please do not hesitate to contact Vice President Colin Hewitt on 07 32837208 or Joanna Kesteven Secretary on 07 54635304 if you would like further information.

Yours Sincerely

RN Johnson,
Chairman,
Queensland Local Government Reform Alliance Inc.

GOALS OF THE QLD LOCAL GOVERNMENT REFORM ALLIANCE

I. To promote community acceptable natural Local Government boundaries that reflect locally held beliefs about community and identity, and provide local amenity and service;

II. Recognition in the State Constitution of Local Government as a legal entity with a clearly articulated role in governing, such that it can only be changed after a majority vote in a properly constituted referendum;

III. Retention and maintenance of reasonable levels of State and Federal Grants and Subsidies to support the necessary and important role of Local Government in providing and supporting rural and regional infrastructure serving not only local communities but also the state and the nation.

Strategic goals:
IV. To promote the benefits of effective, community based ‘local’ government throughout the general public and as an area of learning and study in tertiary institutions;

V. To share the commonality of our cause with all amalgamated shires and promote the sharing of strategy and resources to overcome barriers to de-amalgamation and boundary changes.

MISSION STATEMENT

“An alliance of Queensland organisations and individuals aimed at re-empowering communities.
Its main objectives are to lobby strongly for State Government (a) to recognise local authority based on community of interest that reflects commonly held beliefs about community and identity, local amenity and service, and (b) to also articulate constitutional recognition of Local government in the Queensland Constitution such that it can be changed only by a referendum.”

How To Join
Please see attached membership form. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Joanna Kesteven (Secretary) on 07 54635304.

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