Rockhampton Regional Council's city hall.
Rockhampton Regional Council's city hall. File

Locals debate proposed CQ boundary changes

NEW discussions about whether Livingstone Shire's northern suburbs should return to the Rockhampton Region have sparked debate among locals.

Last week, the Minister for Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs Stirling Hinchliffe said he would mediate between the councils and the respective mayors unable to agree on action.

Livingstone Shire mayor Bill Ludwig said the boundary change was not an urgent matter, while Rockhampton mayor Margaret Strelow said it should be fixed before the 2020 election.

Cr Strelow said any suggestion of a referendum of Livingstone would be "a kick in the guts” to Rockhampton, and the fringe suburbs of Glenlee, Glendale and Rockyview.

Cr Strelow said she was not against another vote, but that it should not take in the whole shire.

Some on Facebook agreed, with Tracy Flenady saying the issue had "gone on long enough”.

"I live two minutes from the welcome to Rockhampton sign, and 10 minutes from the post office, and yet, I can't call Rockhampton my home?” she wrote.

"We definitely DO need somebody in a position of authority to mediate the negotiations between these two councils so that sanity can prevail.”

Danielle Mitchell said it was unfair that all of Livingstone should vote, "especially considering those of us affected have already voted overwhelmingly”.

"Sick of paying rates to a council we don't associate with,” she wrote.

This was the feeling of those who voted in The Morning Bulletin's opinion poll, where 75 per cent of votes wanted to see the suburbs return to Rockhampton.

In the 2013 de-amalgamation poll, 19,000 Livingstone Shire Council residents voted in favour of the split 10,862 to 8331.

However Nerimbera, Rockyview, Glenlee, and Glendale voted overwhelmingly (more than 75 per cent) in favour of remaining with Rockhampton.

In another survey commissioned by Livingstone in 2014, Glenlee, Rockyview and Glendale voted in favour of moving to Rockhampton with 75 per cent, 71.5 per cent and 61.9 per cent of votes respectively.

Nerimbera voted to stay in Livingstone.

It was a voluntary ballot and 65.7 per cent of eligible voters across all four suburbs responded.

At the time, Cr Ludwig said Livingstone would "advance with the comprehensive financial and other reviews necessary to ascertain how and when possible changes can be best transitioned”.

The State Government legislation states a change cannot start until the minister has proposed a change to the Boundary Commission.

The commission investigates in several ways, including a referendum of the Local Government Area.

However, the minister may direct the commission to conduct its assessment in a particular way.

The department has not yet responded to The Morning Bulletin's questions about whether a vote could be restricted to the suburbs in dispute.