Anger over split remarks
IT SEEMS the Local Government Minister's claims that de-amalga- mation isn't a 'hot topic' has ruffled a few feathers.
In Stanthorpe last Wednesday, Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said he was aware of the circulating petition and ongoing de-amalgamation push, but he didn't get a sense that it was the region's hot topic.
"I've spoken to some other locals in Stanthorpe where it wasn't really the hot topic as far as they were concerned," Minister Hinchliffe said last week.
Granite Belt Community Association president Reverend Alan Colyer said he was baffled by those declarations.
He said his group sought to meet with the minister last minute, but were rebuffed.
"Otherwise we would have heard about it, known about it (his visit earlier) and we would have turned up. I tried to get an appointment to see him but was told he was too busy with council business," Rev Colyer said.
"How many people did he speak to, how many approached him... he's talked with the council but why wouldn't he take time while he was here to talk with those of us who are working for the community? Why were we ignored like that?"
Association member Amanda Harrold said the minister's statement demonstrated that the group need to work harder and louder.
"It feels like the State Government is disconnected. With 4000 people signing the petition calling for de-amalgamation - that makes it a hot topic in our mind and I guess those 4000 people will remember his comments when it comes to the next state election," she said.
"We believe we're following the process he refers to, the process is first to prove the public support, hence the petition and public rally (to be held April 29 at CF White), then we can put together the feasibility study and start approaching the ministers."
The group said they have now lined up two respected university professors to assist in the feasibility study.
"We've had 10 years to try and work things out with amalgamation, and we have tried. But it's just not working," Amanda said.
"We're not wanting to make the same mistakes as others in the past. Were lining up a credible financial institution to do the financials so every figure we put out will be 100 per cent correct.
"To be honest, when we started GBCA we didn't even look at de-amalgamation. But it was the public that told us 'we want to investigate'. So we're doing just that."