De-amalgamation 'long and arduous'

Kevin Pickersgill and Shadow MP David Gibson.
Kevin Pickersgill and Shadow MP David Gibson.

RATEPAYERS have been warned the process of council de-amalgamation is not for the faint-hearted, according to Shadow Local Government Minister David Gibson.

Mr Gibson told the Central Highlands Regional Council Ratepayers Association on Tuesday the process can be long and arduous, and there was no guarantee former shire boundaries would remain if councils were to revert to single entities.

"De-amalgamation is a tough process, and it has got to be done for the right reason," Mr Gibson said.

It is an issue the CHRCRA was looking to explore, but chairman Kevin Pickersgill was adamant that de-amalgamation was not something they were pushing for.

"We're investigating it at the moment. It's important for people to know what is involved in the process," Mr Pickersgill said.

"There is certainly no talk of it happening at this stage."

The CHRCRA was initially formed as a result of skyrocketing rural rates increases throughout the Central Highlands as a result of council amalgamations, which saw farmers face the real possibility of losing their land.

Rates reprieves were achieved, and the success has prompted calls for rural landholders to nominate candidates to challenge the next council elections due in March.

"We are seriously putting up alternatives at the council elections, and that could very well be a mayoral candidate," Mr Pickersgill said.

He said it was not confirmed who would put their hand up, but highlighted the fact there were "certain gaps to be filled" within the council.

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