BELITTED AND CRITICISED: Tracy Dobie responds. Picture: Liam Kidston.
BELITTED AND CRITICISED: Tracy Dobie responds. Picture: Liam Kidston.

MAYOR HITS BACK: Lister ’demonstrates no understanding’

THE mayor hit back at claims she prevented drought assistance from reaching rural residents during a scathing media statement today.

Parliamentary comments by Southern Downs State Member James Lister created mounting outcry among rural residents, who publicly questioned the integrity of Southern Downs Mayor Tracy Dobie.

Mr Lister referred to Cr Dobie as ‘toxic’ and claimed she told the Queensland Premier not to supply water trucks to struggling farmers.

Parliamentary privilege protected Mr Lister from civil or criminal liability during the parliamentary debate.

In a response, formulated after consultation with Premier Anastasia Palaszczuk, Cr Dobie said it was disappointing to see that privilege used to “belittle and criticise”.

“It is unfortunate that the state representative for the Southern Downs has chosen to make personal attacks and to blame others for his inability to work with the Queensland Government and deliver tangible outcomes for our region,” Cr Dobie said.

“Mr Lister has not been willing to engage with SDRC since his election and demonstrates no understanding of the role of local government.”

The mayor said Mr Lister’s statements were untrue.

Her assertion was backed up by the president of the Local Government Association of Queensland Mark Jamieson.“James Lister’s attack on Southern Downs Mayor Tracy Dobie is as ill-informed as it is inappropriate,” Mr Jamieson said.

The political spat between the two is not surprising, according to former councillor Gary Cooper. “There’s been tension there as long as I can remember,” Mr Cooper said.

“It started because there were certain policies brought in by council that the state didn’t agree with, and council wouldn’t accept any criticism of.

“One is as bad as the other, I’d say.”

Rising political and community tension can be attributed more to the way local government is set up, rather than individual parties, according to Mr Cooper.

“The mayor in local government basically has full authority over just about everything so they can become a bit autocratic,” Mr Cooper said.

“The friction just shows up.”