Demerger not a 'hot' topic
HE MAY be the man whose arm will need the most twisting when it comes to de-amalgamation but Queensland's Local Government Minister has remained fairly coy on the matter.
In the region yesterday to inspect a number of state government funded projects, Minister Stirling Hinchliffe kept his cards close to his chest when the hot topic of Southern Downs Regional Council's proposed break-up arose.
"I certainly have discussed the matter with council, discussed the matter with council in the past. I've spoken to some other locals in Stanthorpe where it wasn't really the hot topic as far as they were concerned. But always happy to hear from people in the community,” the Minister said.
"The community I know is very aware of what the process is to apply for the consideration. I understand that there is a petition that's out there at the moment. It's a petition to the parliament so for me to comment on it before we receive it would be a bit strange.
"The process is very clear, there is a set of criteria. Clearly when there was an application around de-amalgamation under the previous Newman Government it didn't meet the criteria then.”
Minister Hinchliffe believes efforts would be better placed elsewhere.
"I've got to say that my view is that communities have wasted too much time and energy on both amalgamation and de-amalgamation. Communities are just better off getting on with the process and dealing with the boundaries that exist.
"My focus is on restoring the respect people have more generally for Local Government.
"As I say, there's a process in place which involves community consultation, community views being put (forward), it also involves measures of sustainability and making sure that anything that happens is practical going forward,” he said.
While in town the Minister stopped by Fromes Lane, as well as Storm King Dam to turn the sod on the pipeline upgrades between the dam and water treatment plant.
"Obviously replacing the pipeline connection between the dam and water treatment plant is very important to the quality of water for the community.
"Since the dam was built in 1954 the pipeline has been servicing the community well but it's time to renew that bit of equipment so the QLD Government is pleased to provide almost $4million in grants funding to subsidise this important project.
"The advantage of the design of the new pipeline as I understand it is that it'll be gravity feed so there won't be the operational costs, electricity costs to pump the water to the water treatment plant. Gravity will do the job, therefore it'll be more cost effective,” Minister Hinchliffe said.
SDRC mayor Tracy Dobie said the upgrades would be beneficial for the local community.
"These works are a part of Council's commitment to the continual improvement and liveability of our wonderful region. "We are grateful significant projects such as these have been able to be realised with the assistance of the QLD Government's Works for QLD program.”