Amalgamation: Ten years later
It is nearly 10 years since the Stanthorpe Shire Council become the Southern Downs Regional Council and I personally, struggle to see many positives that came out of this amalgamation - please remember this is my own personal opinion.
When Peter Beattie decided amalgamation was the only option for the state, that it would provide strong local representation and give councils greater clout than they'd ever had before, I am not really sure he thought the process through; I am not sure he really listened to the people.
Politics is not an easy game (so I am lead to believe) and I am sure making decisions for the masses can be a task not many have the backbone to tackle, but I also believe if you are big enough to make such a monumental decision, you should be big enough to admit when your decision was not the right fit for everyone.
Granite Belt residents were very vocal prior to amalgamation and I can fondly remember the masses of people dressed in red who marched on George Street in protest to the travesty that was being perpetuated on much of Queensland. As we know the voices were not enough and now we find ourselves able to perhaps overturn a decision, that in my opinion, was just plain wrong for our region.
There is no doubt IF it is discovered the process of de-amalgamation is achievable and is not too great a burden on a region that is already hurting, then it is an opportunity that should be considered very seriously.
I don't have a crystal ball and I am not sure what the future holds for any of us, but I do know finding out if the public support this, investigating the cost, the needs and all the legalities that are involved cannot be a negative for our region. As emotive a subject as this one is (and you know my passion is Granite Belt through and through) it is inevitably the facts that will be what pushes us over the line.
It doesn't matter what side of the fence you sit on, the de-amalgamation debate is something that you should all stand up and take notice of. The decisions we make now will affect our community for generations to come.
These decisions will be the catalyst of change, to regain what was taken from us by people in power who really missed the big picture.
Residents of the Granite Belt, this is the time to #speakup.