Mining communities speak out
COUNCILLOR portfolios and de-amalgamation are the hot topics in Collinsville right now according to Mining Communities United Inc spokesperson Donna Bulloch.
Ms Bulloch says councillor portfolios are "a bit of a kick in the guts" and not what the people of Division 4 voted for.
"We voted for Peter Ramage to represent our division and now we're being told he's [the portfolio councillor for] water and sewage and [for development] we have to go to Jan Clifford, but does she understand our needs?" Ms Bulloch said. Ms Bulloch says the needs of Collinsville are very different to those of Airlie Beach, hence the strong call for de-amalgamation from members of the community there.
"But it's not just Collinsville. You've got Mt Coolon, Gumlu and even people in Bowen are saying they want to know what's involved in de-amalgamation," she said. "Tourism and mining - it doesn't mix. You mention the Whitsundays, you conjure up a picture of a beach. At the end it comes back to the best representation for all the communities involved - it works both ways." Council's mayor Jennifer Whitney said she understood each of the four "Whitsunday" townships had different synergies, but maintained portfolios were a good idea.
"It comes back to the fact that the local government act is here for the broader community not just the divisions," she said.
Meanwhile Mining Communities United Inc members are now in the process of starting a de-amalgamation petition and are eagerly awaiting the results of council's forensic audit, which they will then present to the broader community to guage support. The LNP government has said it will accept applications from councils who wish to de-amalgamate, provided the entity wishing to break away can financially support the move and prove at least 20 per cent community support.
At council's ordinary meeting yesterday the motion to receive the report on the de-amalgamation process was passed although the mayor made it clear there was no resolution for council to support de-amalgamation.