The petition for Southern Downs Regional Council to de-amalgamate will be presented to parliament on May 2.
The petition for Southern Downs Regional Council to de-amalgamate will be presented to parliament on May 2. Contributed

People quick to sign 'split' petition

IN little more than one week close to 2000 signatures have been collected in favour of de-amalgamation.

The Granite Belt Community Association's fight to garner signatures continues with represent- atives of the group saying Southern Downs Regional Council "would be stupid if they dismiss that many people as being irrelevant”.

"The Clerk of the Parliament has sponsored our petition so regardless of how many signatures we get it becomes an official document of parliament and will be presented in parliament,” group member Amanda Harrold said.

Mrs Harrold said the clerk confirmed to the group any SDRC staff who signed the petition would be wholly protected under parliamentary privilege.

"Anyone who signs it is protected under the privilege of parliament. If anyone tries to interfere with that, they can be found in contempt of parliament,” she said.

People can sign a hard copy of the petition, an online e-petition or both. It is open until May 1 and will be presented before Parliament on May 2. A public rally at Sullivan Oval on April 29 will precede that.

The petition is open to under 18s, as well as all other Queensland residents.

"This is the first step, to get public support and get it debated. This is to get it out there so the public have an appetite for it.

"Our petition is all worded so that we've asked them to acknowledge why the Stanthorpe Shire didn't want to amalgamate and we've asked them to acknowledge in parliament that it's been at the detriment of this community. We've also asked them to set up a special committee to look at boundaries,” Amanda said.

In its first week the online petition attracted 1128 signers and the hard copy drew 725.

"We haven't really started advertising,” GBCA president Alan Colyer said.

"First we have to prove public support, next we go to the financial planning stage, then a referendum. People should not be concerned this is going to go ahead if it's not (financially) viable.

"When we're under pressure we pull together. After all, this is the town that banned Coca Cola,” the Reverend Colyer said.

People can sign the online petition on the Queensland Parliament website.