Livingstone responds to back push for Rocky boundary changes

WHEN Mayor Margaret Strelow went to vote on Election Day she was swamped by residents from Glenlee, Glendale and surrounding areas as to when they would become "a part of Rockhampton again".

Just metres away from the ballot box, the mayor was prepared for election talk with the public but the biggest problem for some of the region's residents wasn't who to vote for.

It was the need for a change.

A number of residents expressed their desires to Cr Strelow for the local government boundary lines to be reviewed after nearly three years of their localities being recognised as part of the Livingstone Shire.

Since the 2013 de-amalgamation the localities known as Glendale, Glenlee and Rockyview have been in the Livingstone Shire Council area.

In yesterday's council meeting the table of councillors shared their concerns after a number of them had been inundated with questions from residents in those areas who no longer wanted to see their rates injected into the shire due to their "lifestyles in Rockhampton".

"On election day I received many, many comments from people saying, what about Rockyview, Glendale and Glenlee and when can they come back to Rockhampton?" Cr Strelow said.

"They've expressed their opinion clearly on two occasions that they want to come to us and I think this report is saying lets grab the bull by the horns. There's a community who wants to come to us and let's find a way to make that happen for their sake."

At the 2013 de-amalgamation poll, the areas north of Rockhampton of Glenlee, Glendale and Rockyview voted comprehensively to stay in an amalgamated council, however results from a poll conducted by the Livingstone Shire Council in November 2014 showed the localities voted 75%, 71.5% and 61.9% respectively to return to Rockhampton Regional Council.

In February last year Rockhampton council wrote a request to the Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning for a review of the local government boundaries to be conducted.

In yesterday's meeting the councillors unanimously passed the motion for the council to seek to "instigate negotiations with Livingstone council to alter the boundaries to include Glenlee, Glendale and Rockyview into the Rockhampton Regional Council area."

Cr Strelow said she hoped formal discussions would start in time for localities to be returned to Rockhampton by the 2020 election.

"Should Glenlee, Glendale and Rockyview residents successfully transition back into Rockhampton Regional Council, we will have an additional 1170 properties in our region,"Cr Strelow said.

"This will be a mutually beneficial outcome for council and those residents who share the community of interest and desire to be a part of our council."

Livingstone Mayor Bill Ludwig, on the other hand, said although he welcomed discussions with Rockhampton Council in regards to the issue, he wanted to make sure a future transition wouldn't financially impact the Livingstone Shire.

"We certainly welcome the fact that Rocky council is looking to have those discussions with us, we did start the process 12 months after the de-amalgamation but with the arrival of Cyclone Marcia we obviously got side-tracked," Cr Ludwig said.

"An obvious part of the journey needs to be a lot more community consultation, if we can make this happen with no negative impacts on either community or no financial impacts on Livingstone's long term financial sustainability, then it is something we could take forward to the state government.

"The previous arrangements were that Livingstone retained the rate revenue for a number of years where growth balanced out the loss of revenue from another so there's lots to work through, but we're happy to get the ball rolling."