Big plans: Gympie Mayor Ron Dyne brings down the budget.
Big plans: Gympie Mayor Ron Dyne brings down the budget.

Gympie wins new reform backing

GYMPIE Regional Council has secured statewide backing for its call for the Queensland Government to restore vital funding which could save ratpayers billions of dollars.

After more than a generation of what has become known as “cost shifting,” councils want the government to pay its way, instead of shifting expensive responsibilities onto local government, without shifting the money needed to pay for them.

Speaking yesterday from the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) annual conference in Mackay, Mayor Ron Dyne said councils across the state had also backed Gympie’s call for the restoration of state subsidies for major sewerage and other infrastructure projects

Cr Dyne who is attending the conference with Cr Ian Petersen as Gympie’s representatives, said all councils at the conference supported the Gympie resolutions.

“We took two motions to the conference and both were successful,” the mayor said.

“One was a call for the restoration of state subsidies for major sewerage and other infrastructure projects.

“And we wanted the government to look at any future devolution of government functions to councils and to ensure they would be fully funded by the State Government, by way of operational and capital grants if required,” he said.

The issue of the State Government handing over costly responsibilities without compensation has been branded “cost shifting” by councils and has been a contentious issue for many years.

This has never been more the case than since tighter economic circumstances have made ratepayers increasingly concerned at tax burdens from all levels of government, including council rates and charges.

The LGAQ’s 114th annual conference heard a wide range of concerns from elected councils throughout Queensland.

Cr Dyne said returning to his hometown was quite an experience, given the massive changes which have occurred since he was last there.

Other issues raised at the conference included bikeway infrastructure, swimming pool safety enforcement, a call for the State Government to re-invest waste levies from industry into programs to reduce waste , and tax incentives for people to settle in rural areas.

Delegates also debated plans for a new northern state starting at Rockhampton and Boulia, a call for the government to develop a state population policy and to involve councils in developing it, a new law requiring national broadband network infrastructure in all new developments, higher thresholds for councils to engage contractors before they are required to call tenders, and a firm date for a federal referendum on the financial recognition of councils.

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