Southern Downs Regional Council Mayor Tracy Dobie says council will receive a review of GBCA's de-merger report on Wednesday.
Southern Downs Regional Council Mayor Tracy Dobie says council will receive a review of GBCA's de-merger report on Wednesday. File

Review flags problems

A COUNCIL-led review of the Granite Belt Community Association's proposed de-amalgamation business case will go before the council's general meeting in Warwick on Wednesday.

The divisive issue will again be on the agenda but mayor Tracy Dobie has reminded residents councillors are only being asked to receive the review.

The probe was undertaken by council officers, who allege the report, A New Granite Belt Council, is inaccurate and incorrect on many fronts.

"Officers submit that there are assertions within the proposal that are incorrect or require significant clarification,” the council's February 27 business papers read.

"These assertions relate to financial sustainability, applicability of grants and funding, capital expenditure assumptions, organisational structure, implications arising from the council re-categorisation process, division of staff and heavy fleet, as well as appropriate levels of service being delivered to the community into the future.”

The analysis was completed at the request of Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe, who will have the ultimate say on the de-amalgamation bid.

"Officers have not been able to identify how residents of the proposed and existing local government authorities would not be financially disadvantaged based upon the information provided within the proposal,” the business papers read.

That statement flies in the face of those previously made by the Granite Belt Community Association.

"It is all possible, financially viable, both councils in the black and it can be done,” GBCA president Alan Colyer said in December.

Reverend Colyer said he'd wait to comment on the review after it went to council.

SDRC states in its business papers that a further peer review of their review isn't off the table.

"Council officers will continue to work with the Department of Local Government and the Queensland Treasury Corporation on a further investigation and review of the proposal,” it read.

"It is envisaged that the report from the Department of Local Government and the Queensland Treasury Corporation will be presented at the April 2019 general council meeting.”

The council's de-amalgamation rebuttal rounds out with comments from the reviewing officers including one that highlights the community's perceived "lack of understanding” of local government.

"Of most interest to me in reading the documents is the lack of concurrence on the role of council perceived by the state and that of the community,” the officer said.

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