Gympie

Gympie Council – Bad Decision on Divisions

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Gympie Regional CouncilBad Council Decision on  Divisions

So Gympie Regional Council voted against introducing divisional representation at the meeting on Wednesday 9 March 2010 citing that a lack of response to their survey indicated that the community didn’t want divisions.

While this decision comes as no surprise because Councillor interest in self-preservation over-rides their interest in community representation, I find it difficult to accept that the whole process wasn’t a sham.

The Council was basically embarrassed into conducting “community consultation” on the issue and then the consultation process was undertaken in a half hearted manner by arranging a couple of obscure daytime meetings when most people can’t attend due to work commitments, a difficult online survey that required ratepayers to have the internet and an email address to complete and a few forms for available at Council offices/facilities.

This demonstrates that the only sincerity given to public consultation on the issue was to sincerely obfuscate the process ensuring that as few people could express an opinion as possible.

The local newspaper also showed it’s true colours as their reporting of the issue did not show any investigation into pros and cons of divisional representation or printing any survey forms to help their readers – a poor effort. 

Even a first year journalist could have done better and easily informed the readers that no divisional representation incurs huge financial liabilities for ratepayers without any local representation or accountability to help on their issues.

The right to divisional representation is basic electoral democracy.  This right has been removed from Gympie Ratepayers by an arrogant decision that should not have been able to have been made by this Council.

With 12 months to go to the next Queensland local Government election, the current Council having rejected divisions have ensured that it will be difficult for any person standing for election.  Prospective candidates now face the daunting and expensive task of conducting their campaign and building a profile across the whole Council area.

I trust that there will be some civic-minded people who will stand for election with a policy of implementing divisions and that the current Councillors will regret this decision.

UPDATE – 4/11/2011 – The Queensland Government has decided that Gympie Regional Council will re-introduce divisional representation for the 2012 Gympie election.  It is time to ensure that the current Gympie Councillors are called to account and made to regret their self interested decision to disregard the democratic rights of the people of Gympie.

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