Gladstone’s Gail Sellers.
Gladstone’s Gail Sellers.

CQ against splitting state

CENTRAL Queensland mayors do not feel a split state would help get fairer funding for regional and rural council areas.

North Queensland mayors will request at next month’s Queensland Local Government Association that other mayors support their proposal for a referendum at the 2012 state election for a split state, just north of Rockhampton and Longreach.

Central Queensland mayors have applauded North Queensland mayors for trying to stand up for their areas and get more funding, but do not believe a split state was the right approach.

Central Highlands Mayor Peter Maguire took the debate one step further, saying all state governments needed to be abolished.

Banana Shire Council Mayor John Hooper said the solution to fairer funding was to distribute a percentage the royalties the Queensland Government received from the mining and resources companies back into the local government areas from where they came.

“We are getting a big amount taken out of our areas and we feel some of that should be coming back into our areas,” he said.

“We are very concerned we are not going to be looked after in terms of infrastructure.”

Rockhampton Regional Council Mayor Brad Carter said he applauded the NQ Mayors for their initiative and unison.

“However, I believe that the last thing we need in this country is another state bureaucracy that gobbles up a significant proportion of the taxes raised,” he said.

“We need more efficient government operations at the state and federal levels that can more efficiently distribute the tax revenues to areas that keep the nation economically strong.

“I strongly support the formation of the Galilee Bowen Basin Council of Mayors that will be working very closely with federal and state governments, addressing the serious issues of the underfunding of critical infrastructure.

“This is the key infrastructure that is required to support the growth and development of the high growth resource sector that carried this nation through the global financial crisis.

“The eight-member Galilee Bowen Basin Council of Mayors will have its next meeting on May 31 in Mackay.”

North Burnett Regional Council Mayor Joy Jensen said she opposed a split state.

“We currently have a situation where all regions are not treated equitably,” she said.

Gladstone Regional Council Acting Mayor Gail Sellers said there was no way a split state would happen because it would require a change in the Australian Constitution, which was a very difficult process.

“As a Queenslander all my life, if we are going to change Queensland and we are not in Queensland any more, who are we going to go for in State of Origin,” she said.

Cr Sellers said the royalties distributed back into local government areas idea was a logical one, but the methodology to put it into practice would require considerable research.

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