Warwick’s Young Person of the Year Anthony Bannister.
Warwick’s Young Person of the Year Anthony Bannister. Lisa Hemmings

Backflip on Co-op

THE urge to do the right thing has prevailed over bureaucratic red tape, with the Southern Downs Regional Council agreeing to reimburse the Killarney Co-op for costs associated with its new medical centre.

With the centre having been open for a week - and some of the pressure taken off Warwick's medical services - councillors voted unanimously this week to overturn a ruling by council officers that the Co-op's request for financial help be refused.

The money involved is not huge, at $3559, but sometimes it's the principle that counts and our pollies showed their sympathetic side by bending the policy on giving grants only to not-for-profit groups.

With Killarney not having had a GP since 2008 the community-owned Co-op took it upon itself to stump up $250,000 to get a new surgery up and running, in a residence it owns next door.

The Co-op was charged $1984 by council in planning fees, plus it had to outlay $1575 to remove and replace a section of footpath to comply with council regulations.

It wrote to the council seeking relief, but officers deemed the request outside the guidelines.

Councillors took a different view, with Cr Ross Bartley, a Co-op shareholder, declaring a potential conflict of interest and leaving the meeting, but not before declaring his "110 per cent support" for the reimbursement.

Mayor Ron Bellingham followed suit, saying the Co-op was unlikely to make a profit from the medical centre.

"These are extenuating circumstances and the policy should not restrict us from doing what is right," he said.

Cr Jo McNally pointed out council offered concessions to businesses to relocate to the region, before a vote was taken to grant the Co-op its charges and costs, and to offer 12 months rates relief.

With the Warwick Medical Centre threatened with closure due to a lack of regional GPs, co-owner Barbara Hannon said there were "a couple of interested parties" looking at continuing it, but nothing had been finalised.

Warwick's young person of the year wants people to know that there a lot of youngsters working hard behind the scenes in the community.

Allora teen Anthony Bannister was awarded the title at the Warwick Youth Awards on Wednesday night.

He said he loved doing his part in the community and wanted others to know the positive side to Warwick's youth.

"There are a lot of young people who are doing good things and we want to get that out there," he said.

Anthony is a member of the Youth Advisory Group and dedicated a lot of his time to helping out at community events such as Jumpers and Jazz.

This is no easy feat when combined with competitive swimming and the pressure-filled demands of year 11 studies.

Anthony said one thing he would like to see change in Warwick would be a great hang-out spot for teens.

"I would like to see an arcade or something like that so we could have somewhere to go to just take our minds off things," he said.

The Scots PGC student said keeping kids busy was a great way to deter unsavoury behaviour.

"You hear about the bad things all of the time on the news - young people vandalising and stealing things," he said. "It all comes down to not having enough to do," he said.

Community Youth Worker Bonita Tyler said the youth awards were a fantastic way to celebrate youth in the region.

"It was great to see young people being rewarded for their efforts in the community," she said.


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