Following is a letter to all candidates in the forthcoming State election seeking their views on forced Council amalgamations.
I am/We are writing to you because you are a candidate for the state seat of (please paste seat here) in the upcoming state elections. May I/we wish you well and congratulate you for offering to serve this electorate.
We/I write to you on the issue of council amalgamations. It is my/our intention to publish the opinion of each candidate, and their party platform, on the following questions:
- Do you support the right of people to have a democratic referendum to decide if they wish to return to the local council of (paste shire name here) Shire; or whether they wish to remain part of (relevant name here) Regional Council? YES/NO
- If you answered NO, would you support a State wide inquiry into the effectiveness of the 2007/08 council boundary changes? YES/NO
- Do you have any further comment to make:
If you are currently undecided on this, could I please ask you to consider, and to make your own enquiries on some of the issues?
- The increases in rates and charges since the regional council’s formation.
- The increase in borrowing.
May we/I please have your views, and the views of your party on whether or not the ratepayers should be given a vote on this question? We/I will publish your response without editing or comment where possible so that others can be informed of your opinion when deciding for whom they wish to vote.
- in representation for ratepayers.
- The inaccessibility of councillors and staff.
- The reduction in grants.
- The increases in salaries for councillors and senior staff
- Increased secrecy of council affairs.
- Service reductions.
- Increased bureaucratic attitudes often combined with a significant increase in indoor workers and reductions in outdoor workers.
- The shift in council expenditure towards the regional centre at the cost of outlying small towns.
- The death of the small towns and villages, economically and socially
Further could we/ I remind you of the following comment from the LGAQ:
‘Councils are already accumulating new debt at the rate of $750 million a year. LGAQ President Margaret de Wit said the gravity of the situation had been made clear by recent State Audit Office findings that half of Queensland’s councils were on the edge of financial viability.
It is also relevant to mention the actual cost of de-amalgamation. When Noosa, Livingstone, Mareeba and Douglas Shire Council residents were given a vote to decide if they wanted to revert to their original shires in 2013, the Minister for Local Government and the Regional Mayors predicted huge one-off costs of de-amalgamating and huge on-going increases in rates following de-amalgamation. These dire predictions have all proved to be false (deliberately false?) and indeed the four councils that were given democracy have never looked back.
Please let me/us know if you have any questions. May I/we please have your response by please paste date here