Fears Isaac division changes will have a negative impact
COUNCILLORS fear major changes to Isaac Regional Council divisions could be detrimental to the community.
Ahead of the council elections in March next year, the Electoral Commission of Queensland has redrawn division boundaries of the Isaac Regional Council area using population projection for 2024.
But at the recent council meeting, some councillors expressed concern that some of the proposed division changes could mean communities were not properly represented.
CEO Gary Stevenson said the State Government's statistician had looked at the 2024 population growth to predict division changes for this year's election.
He said when he spoke to the electoral commission, he explained the resources projects in the pipeline across the region could have an impact on the numbers predicted.
"They're trying to get ahead of the game and make less changes and have a more durable outcome,” he said.
"It would be far more prudent to plan for the next election.
"If they stick with the concept of dealing with today's data, all other things fall back into place.”
Mr Stevenson said these projects could throw out the predictions.
The new division changes would result in the Middlemount councillor, currently Cr Jane Pickles, taking over representations of some parts of Moranbah.
Cr Gina Lacey said the point of division was for people to represent their patch.
"I feel like we're moving away from that when we've got a Middlemount councillor representing a significant amount of Moranbah's constituency,” she said.
"It's more than just the numbers.”
Isaac Regional Council has about 11,326 voters, which are divided into eight divisions, plus a mayor.
The electoral commission has predicted, by 2024, that number will only rise by about 50 voters.
The commission predicted Division 1, Clermont Rural and Glenden, would shrink more than 12 per cent, and Division 3, Moranbah, would rise more than 15 per cent in terms of voter allocation.
But with major projects proposed in the Isaac region, including mines in the Galilee Basin, some councillors suggested those predictions might not account for them.
Cr Kelly Vea Vea said while the predictions might suggest the growth would be in Division 3, it may actually be in Division 7.
"Those predictions are well up on what we would see as predicted growth,” she said.
Cr Pickles added: "Five years is a long time in the resource industry.”
The council voted to write a letter to the electoral commission to express their concerns about the changes.
An Electoral Commission Queensland spokesperson said the changes aimed to ensure each division had a similar number of enrolled voters for the next election.
"It has also considered projected enrolment data provided by the Queensland Government Statistician's Office, with the intent of creating boundaries that remain in place for the 2024 election,” they said.