Divisions prompt massive outcry
THE Local Government Change Commission has been inundated with submissions from the region's residents over Whitsunday Regional Council's proposed changes to internal electoral boundaries.
The change commission received a whopping 1650 submissions from residents regarding the council's proposal to redistribute the number of electors across the region's six divisions.
By comparison, 14 other internal boundary reviews currently being conducted around the state have resulted in just 36 submissions.
The change commission is working its way through a draft proposal, which is expected to be released to the community at the end of this month.
In June, Whitsunday Regional Council made a submission to the electoral change commission, arguing that continued population growth in the south-eastern part of the region meant an adjustment to divisional boundaries was necessary to keep fair and equitable voter representation across the local government area. The council's submission recommended altering every divisional boundary.
The council's submission sparked a fierce debate within the community and outrage among the three northern councillors, Andrew Willcox, Dave Clark and Peter Ramage, who argued for a single divisional realignment to address the imbalance.
Whitsunday Regional Council CEO Scott Waters said Council was aware of the large number of submissions made to the Change Commission, and said the review was being conducted independently of Council.
He said the council's proposal was designed to cater for future growth across the entire local government area.
Whitsunday Regional Residents Association president Ross Newell said the large number of submissions was indicative of the community's outrage.
"It basically reflects the opinion of the majority of the residents in the area that the wider community doesn't support the concept of the changes as proposed by the Whitsunday Regional Council," he said.