Goomeri producer Johmn Cotter wants council's eight divisions scrapped ahead of the 2020 election.
Goomeri producer Johmn Cotter wants council's eight divisions scrapped ahead of the 2020 election. The Gympie Times

Gympie region identity asks council to axe divisions

COUNCILLORS are required to govern for the whole region; so why do all residents not have a say on every elected seat?

This is the question Goomeri's John Cotter hopes to address by proposing the removal of divisions ahead of the 2020 Local Government election and the return to undivisional representation.

"The whole of the community should have ownership of the whole of the council," he said.

 

Goomeri producer John Cotter is asking Gympie Council to scrap its divisional boundaries for the 2020 election.
Goomeri producer John Cotter is asking Gympie Council to scrap its divisional boundaries for the 2020 election. Contributed

He said the present system, in which the region was sliced into eight with one representative each, restricted the say residents had on the region's government.

And while it did allow for voters to have a closer relationship with their councillor, he said it left them isolated from others.

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"We used to see a lot of the councillors a lot of the time," Mr Cotter said.

"I would struggle to say I've got a relationship with more than one or two of them now."

 

BETTER VOICE: John Cotter from Goomeri wants change to council divisions.
BETTER VOICE: John Cotter from Goomeri wants change to council divisions. Tom Daunt

This was compounded by the possibility of that councillor being "rolled 8-1" when voting on an issue specific to that area - and having no say on whether they felt that vote was fair or not, he said.

Mr Cotter stressed his request was not an indictment of the current council, but was about giving the region a voice, and he said the coast and western regions should not worry about losing their voice.

"You won't get elected without support from Tin Can Bay and Rainbow Beach," he said, saying that while Gympie had 70 per cent of the vote those areas held the "balance of power".

"Ron Dyne's election is a good example of the people getting it right," he said.

Mr Cotter had great faith that given the chance they would, and pointed to Toowoomba's growth as an example of what Gympie could achieve.

Having spent 50 years in the public eye, including as president of AgForce and chairman of Queensland's GasFields Commission, he said this was not driven by any agenda to run for office.

Undivisional representation, he said, was for 2020 and beyond.

"The challenges are going to be enormous."

Gympie Times


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