Big backlash at tiny town snub

HIGHLAND HOBBITS: Small towns have lost their town status, putting towns such as Dingo and Gindie at risk of becoming a borough or village.
HIGHLAND HOBBITS: Small towns have lost their town status, putting towns such as Dingo and Gindie at risk of becoming a borough or village. Contributed

SMALL country towns in the Central Highlands and west have been stripped of their official status as a town.

Residents of towns with a population of fewer than 200 people will no longer be called towns, after the Australian Bureau of Statistics updated its statistical definitions, putting Dingo, Gindie and Bauhinia at risk of having their status removed.

With new town names reminiscent of the Hobbit setting being suggested by the ABS - such as villages, boroughs and hamlets - residents are outraged by the decision, fearing it could affect their town funding.

"The suggested names are all English - that isn't right to start with," Dingo resident Jenni Smith said.

"Why can't they just leave things as they are? There are more things to worry about than the title of towns."

Central Highlands Mayor Peter Maguire said he wasn't certain if the small towns would lose government funding rights.

"I don't think funding will be a problem - they look at the whole region, not just the individual area," Cr Maguire said.

"They will always be around, and we'll always call them towns because old habits die hard."

The small towns of Muttaburra and Jericho, in the Barcaldine region, are also at risk of losing their town status.

"It doesn't make sense to me, I think it is rubbish," Barcaldine Mayor Rob Chandler said.

"I think they are towns and they will remain towns as far as I'm concerned."

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