Councillors have voted down a proposed de-amalgamation.
Councillors have voted down a proposed de-amalgamation. Matthew Purcell

It's a no: Councillors vote down de-amalgamation

DE-AMALGAMATION dreams are all but dead.

At Warwick's Town Hall this morning councillors voted seven to two against a proposed de-amalgamation of the Granite Belt from the Southern Downs.

Councillors Pennisi and Gow argued for the proposal to go to the state government's Change Commission, where an independent analysis would be undertaken of all the facts and figures presented to date.

Mayor Tracy Dobie and Cr's Meiklejohn, Windle, Kelly, McNally, Stocks and McNichol vetoed the proposal.

The basis for most of the arguments against de-amalgamation were around the recent analysis done by the Queensland Treasury Corporation.

It's findings were starkly different to those outlined by the Granite Belt Community Association in their report, A New Granite Belt Council.

"We;ve gone through 11 years now with some residents yearning for de-amalgamation. I know in speaking to the two previous mayors, Ron Bellingham and Peter Blundell, de-amalgamation has been and continue to be an issue that has taken up a large amount of council time and resources," Cr Dobie said.

"In coming to my decision today I am confident I am abiding by the local government principals as well as my own personal principals."

Cr Dobie accused the GBCA of being negative and having an eye on the past rather than the future.

"Instead of progressing their endeavour by talking positively about their alternate vision for the Granite Belt, the committee and members (of the GBCA) have taken to misrepresentation.

"I was looking for a vision and positive outlook from the Granite Belt... but there has been none," she said.

 

GBCA's president Rev Alan Colyer and secretary Amanda Harrold following the meeting.
GBCA's president Rev Alan Colyer and secretary Amanda Harrold following the meeting. Matthew Purcell

 

GBCA president Rev Alan Colyer was dismayed by the outcome.

"I think that is the most disappointing thing I have ever encountered in my whole life," Rev Colyer said.

"Sometimes truth needs to be justified. Council didn't justify that truth today. They went with the QTC report. What are they afraid of with it going on to the Change Commission?

"The minister (Stirling Hinchliffe) just got a get out of jail free card. He can't do anything now and they knew that.

"I don't know what we do now. I'm appalled by it. There were just so many untruths told there. I don't know where to turn just now. I think the people of the Granite Belt were let down.

"I think in reality yes it is now done," he said.

He hasn't ruled out the planned rates strike that was proposed at Sunday's de-amalgamation rally.

Despite the council vote, the final decision still rests with Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe.

MORE TO COME

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