Thursday, 16 August 2007
Matters of Public Importance
At 4 am one day last week the world changed and 84 local authorities were abolished overnight. Only 73 continue. It is interesting—we have had the Victorian experience thrown in our teeth a few times this week, have we not? But in Victoria, infinitely smaller in area than Queensland, even the Kennett government kept 78 councils. We were left with 73, so it was an even fiercer process than the Victorian one.
What will the effect be? Take my own area of Bundaberg. We will go from 32 councillors, who are out there in the community consulting with people, down to 11. The Central Highlands, represented by my good friend the member for Maranoa, goes from 38 to eight. If you really want to see a doozy, in the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources’ area of Toowoomba we go from 69 councillors to 11. Even the Torres Strait, where people live on islands, goes from 59 councillors down to 16. In part of my own area, North Burnett goes from 41 councillors down to seven. Also you should note that some of these councillors will have greater responsibility than the state members. What sort of an imbalance does that create with the three tiers of the government when you will probably have to have mayors being paid more than the state members of parliament to justify their positions? It is an absolutely extraordinary thing. Why would the Queensland state government do this?