The Granite Belt has held a long opposition to the amalgamation of our Stanthorpe Shire Council. There was a strong resistance led by the community to fight the forced merger of our successful council with these three dedicated members of our community leading the charge and even releasing a CD!
Stanthorpe Border Post – Thursday, 15 November 2007
The previous Stanthorpe Shire Council was strongly opposed to amalgamation and in the report of the Local Government Reform Commission, the reasons listed were:
- detrimental impact on the development of the community.
- loss of local representation.
- loss of services which met the needs of the community.
- loss of employment opportunities.
- reduced local government support of local businesses.
- loss of important community assets.
- reduced allocation of local government funds towards local projects.
- loss or downgrading of local services and
- potential to lose some or all of the local identity and sense of community.
After 10 years of trying to make amalgamation work, it is the opinion of the Granite Belt Community that the above reasons for not amalgamating have become a reality and that this community will not recover unless de-amalgamation happens.
The move towards the de- amalgamation of the Granite Belt region from Southern Downs Regional Council Area started to gain momentum with more public support emerging from the community. At a meeting of the Granite Belt Community Association in November 2017 a motion was moved that the association investigate de-amalgamation.
The Granite Belt Community Association started it’s investigation and strictly followed the legislation that is in place. The first step of the process – to prove public support.
This was done by a petition – both in paper form and e-petition and a public rally. The public rally was a huge success, with 1,392 people signing the attendance record and over three hundred apologies received from members of the community. The date of 29 April 2018 will become legend – the day when there was a traffic jam in Stanthorpe!
The petition closed shortly after the rally and Alan Colyer and Amanda Harrold traveled to Brisbane to deliver the petition in person to the Clerk of Parliament. Final numbers for the combined petitions was 5,698.
On the same day the petition was delivered Mayor Tracy Dobie released a media statement stating: “This strong support for de-amalgamation has galvanised my position and I will advocate to my fellow Councillors and the Queensland Government in support of de-amalgamation, once the Granite Belt Community Association has provided the supporting evidence that de-amalgamation is viable…. I will be calling on my fellow councillors to think long and hard on this issue… If there is clear evidence of benefit to our residents, then Stanthorpe should be allowed to shape its own destiny.”
A motion was passed by the Southern Downs Regional Council at it’s General Meeting on 23 May that they recognised our proposal to de-amalgamate but would not make a final decision to support or not support this until a comprehensive financial analysis on the financial impacts of the Southern Downs region is completed.
And so, we move onto the next stage – the Business Case and Financial Analysis…