No de-amalgamation for Whitsundays

Whitsunday Regional Council.
Whitsunday Regional Council.

WHITSUNDAY Regional Council will not be de-amalgamated, according to an announcement by Local Government minister David Crisafulli, who will only refer proposals from five former Queensland shires to the boundaries commissioner, these being Noosa, Mareeba, Douglas, Isis and Livingstone.

Mr Crisafulli said he would use the information gathered from remaining proposals such as the Whitsundays to help councils and communities heal the wounds from their forced amalgamations in 2008.

Whitsunday Regional Council was formed when the former Whitsunday Shire amalgamated with the former Bowen Shire.

"Far from being a waste of time, this has been a great exercise in democracy by giving communities a chance to voice the concerns they were denied five years ago," Mr Crisafulli said. Collinsville-based Mining Communities United Inc (MCU) president Donna Bulloch, who led the petition for de-amalgamation, said she was disappointed with this result.

"Over 1600 people signed the petition - which was more than the required amount. The test that the Government set regarding financial modelling was next to impossible to meet [and] we feel we should have further opportunity to mount our case," she said.

"The Local Government minister has told me that he is willing to work with us to resolve our concerns and we are willing to work constructively to try and resolve these issues - but the fundamental issues still remain. We had a strong, effective and representative council before the amalgamation and our communities want that again."

Whitsunday mayor Jennifer Whitney, whose election mantra was 'One Region', said the time had now come to work together and "strengthen our resolve to see the Whitsunday region prosper, now and into the future."

"We've got many opportunities in front of us over the next four years and I think we need to embrace them. My whole reason for running was to unite the former shires better and I personally am becoming more active in trying to achieve that 'One Region' status," Cr Whitney said.

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