Stanthorpe would be worse off: Mayor
SOUTHERN Downs Regional Council mayor Tracy Dobie has brushed off a call for de-amalgamation and says Stanthorpe would be "worse off”.
The Granite Belt Community Association has put the wheels in motion and plans to circulate a petition before holding a public rally in April.
The group, headed up by president Rev Alan Colyer, has been investigating the possibility of de-amalgamation over a lengthy period. Southern Downs mayor Tracy Dobie said de-amalgamation was something that needed to be broached at a state government level.
"The Department of Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs manage amalgamations and de-amalgamations and it's an issue for them,” she said.
"I'm not aware specifically of the issues the Granite Belt Community Association has. "They have been previously invited to meet with council to address their concerns but they declined saying they did not want to meet with us.
"That's an open invitation, it always has been but if they wish to look into de-amalgamation then they'll need to take that up with the state government.”
Cr Dobie said there was no doubt the 2008 amalgamation brought many changes to the region.
"It's not the first time it's happened, like the amalgamation of Warwick, Allora, Glengallan and Rosenthal shires into the Shire of Warwick in 1994,” she said.
"But in 2008, Stanthorpe Shire campaigned heavily against amalgamation in the lead up to the forming of the Southern Downs Regional Council.
As for the process of de-amalgamation, Cr Dobie said she hadn't approached the state government for specifics about the process.
"Personally I think the community of Stanthorpe would be worse off under de-amalgamation.
"For instance, Stanthorpe like Warwick, has a lot of old infrastructure that will need to be replaced or upgraded in the coming decades.
"Stanthorpe is a very small area and has a very small number of rate payers, so that and major cost issues would need to be seriously considered.”
Cr Dobie said in the ten years since amalgamation there had been as much investment in the Stanthorpe area per capita as there had been anywhere else across the region.
"After the 2008 election, the Liberal party did look at those councils in Queensland that wanted to de-amalgamate. Stanthorpe put forward their case but was knocked back.”