COMMUNITY ANGER: Whitsunday Regional Council Deputy Mayor Andrew Willcox addresses Bowen residents over the proposed changes to the region’s internal electoral boundaries in the Bowen PCYC on Monday night.
COMMUNITY ANGER: Whitsunday Regional Council Deputy Mayor Andrew Willcox addresses Bowen residents over the proposed changes to the region’s internal electoral boundaries in the Bowen PCYC on Monday night.

Anger over new boundaries

THE northern half of the region is up in arms about Whitsunday Regional Council's submission to the Local Government Change Commission on Electoral Boundaries.

On Monday night, around 250 people turned up at the Bowen PCYC to hear Deputy Mayor Andrew Willcox and councillors Dave Clark and Peter Ramage speak out against council's submission, which they argued would strip representation from the north.

The three councillors are trying to organise a meeting with Deputy Premier and Minister for Local Government and Planning Jackie Trad to discuss the changes proposed by council.

Cr Willcox urged the crowd to make submissions to the electoral commission before Friday's deadline.

"Please, make sure we put some submissions in, because this is about keeping the representation in the north," Cr Willcox said.

"The only thing that will solve this will be people power."

During a question and answer session with the public, Cr Ramage said that while changes had been in the offing for the past two months, the final maps were never discussed in a briefing session but were instead sent out via email.

"...I rang the CEO and I said to him, 'this is going to create WWIII'," Cr Ramage said.

"We have never sat down collectively with that map and spoken about (the changes)."

On the other hand, Mayor Jennifer Whitney said the council's resolution had been formed after three briefings to the council and correspondence to all councillors on April 20.

"Only one councillor raised objections to the Chief Executive Officer in relation to the proposal since its release to Councillors over one month ago," she said.

While anger is mounting in the north, Whitsunday Ratepayers Association (WRA) secretary Anthony Moscato welcomed council's submission.

"What council is proposing is fair and equitable," he said.

"That was not the case with the previous council."

Those wanting to make submissions can email them to: whitsundayregionalcouncil review@ecq.qld.gov.au.

WHAT THEY THINK:

Mayor Jennifer Whitney: "What people have lost sight of is that we've got a pie there that needs to be divided into six parts. We need equal representation in each division."

Deputy Mayor Andrew Willcox: "The purpose of this, I believe, is just to dilute the representation from the north."

Whitsunday Regional Residents Association president Ross Newell: "Council's proposal does not represent the best interests of the Bowen community and we rely on the good judgement of the QEC to determine this."

Whitsunday Ratepayers Association secretary Anthony Moscato: "What council is proposing is fair and equitable."


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