Super-council idea to put region on the map

By Kate Wilson

JUST 15 years after Bill Neubecker worked to bring together Gooburrum and Woongarra shires, the amalgamation question has been raised again.

Although this time the former Burnett Shire Mayor will be happy to sit on the sidelines and leave the hard work to present councillors.

"The difficult part before the amalgamation was getting the community feelings across to the state government," Mr Neubecker said.

"The amalgamation was not something the people of Gooburrum wanted, but it will be a different scenario this time."

The current Local Government and Planning Minister Andrew Fraser has put the Bundaberg, Burnett, Isis, Perry, Kolan and Miriam Vale councils on the spot, asking the councils to consider merging and pooling resources.

The suggestion has also been made that next year's council elections could be replaced by a referendum on amalgamations.

Mr Fraser said it was a chance for councils to consider their options Burnett Shire councillor Trevor Strong said he supported the amalgamation concept.

"I see more positives than negatives at this stage," Mr Strong said.

"A bigger organisation would allow us to have more specialised staff and surely one organisation is a better scenario for organising water resources."

Mr Neubecker said he believed super-councils were changing the face of local government.

"If I go back to when I started, local council was exactly that - with local representatives," he said.

"With the super-councils the community have less access to the community representative.

"It's changed from local government to regional government."

However, Mr Strong said he would like a change back to councillor divisions if a merge occurred, to ensure local representation was maintained.



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