Division debate heats up

THE issue of divisions has once again stirred up a hornets nest with proponents ready to sting councillors with accusations of being biased.

Outspoken advocate for divisions Ian Donald said he heard Gympie Region councillors advising ratepayers to vote for no divisions at an information session held at Centro on Thursday.

But Mayor Ron Dyne, who wasn’t at the session, said he didn’t believe Mr Donald’s claims.

“I don’t believe they’ve been indicating either way,” he said.

Also at the information session, divisions supporter Reg Lawler backed up Mr Donald’s claims.

“I think it’s completely out of place. I told them that I thought it was inappropriate they were advocating against divisions,” he said.

Mr Lawler said either a community committee or council staff should be running the sessions, as they were unbiased.

“The meetings aren’t proper they’re just an attempt and not a real consultation.”

He urged people to have their say and vote the way they wanted to.

Mr Donald agreed, saying the councillors were biased.

“Councillors always try to stay neutral, but they were openly talking people into voting for no divisions,” he said.

“With everything else they sit on the fence, but this affects their wages and now they’re not.”

Mayor Dyne countered Mr Donald’s claim that councillors were biased by saying everyone had an opinion.

“Who’s going to be independent?”

He argued that staffers couldn’t host the information sessions because it wasn’t their role.

“Because it’s a political thing,” is the reason he gave.

“I don’t doubt for a minute there’s plenty that want to push for divisions. It’s the summary and questionnaire that are important not who hands them out.”

Mr Donald said people should be deciding on divisions by taking into consideration what method would give them the best representation.

Residents have until the close of business on March 4 to tell council if they would prefer divisions.

Copies of the questionnaire and a discussion paper on both representation models are available from council administration offices, libraries and online.

More information sessions will be held next week at the following:

Rainbow Beach Library 10am – 12noon, February 21

Tin Can Bay Library 2pm – 4pm, February 21

Imbil RSL Hall 9am – 11am, February 22

Curra Country Club 1pm – 3pm, February 22

Goomeri Hall 2pm – 3pm, February 24

Kilkivan Hall 4pm – 5pm, February 24

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