Gympie snubbed for growth summit

FIRST we were invited, then we weren’t.

Now Gympie Regional councillors are concerned that no one from this region will be taking part in the Queensland Growth Management Summit.

During yesterday’s general meeting it was revealed that council was contacted by Bob Hockey from the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation’s Maryborough office, who asked council to nominate a representative for the summit – effectively inviting Gympie Regional Council (GRC) to the February 10 event.

But after councillors nominated Cr Ian Petersen and Director of Planning Mike Hartley to attend the summit , council received notice from the State Government that both nominations were unsuccessful.

GRC’s chief executive Ken Mason said in a report that it was extremely disappointing council would not be represented at the summit, considering GRC bordered the South East Queensland (SEQ) region.

Mr Mason said GRC was increasingly impacted by SEQ’s growth.

Yesterday, councillors mirrored Mr Mason’s sentiments.

Deputy Mayor Tony Perrett, who was meeting chair in Mayor Ron Dyne’s absence, said he was “troubled” and “bothered” by the recent turn of events.

“We were invited to nominate ... now they are saying we are not welcome,” he said.

Cr Perrett said the Gympie region had been identified as a growth area.

“I do believe we should have some representation there.”

A fired up Cr Rae Gate said it was a “Clayton’s invitation” as the State Government really wasn’t asking GRC to take part in the summit.

She said the State was remiss at leaving Gympie out.

Cr Ian Petersen said it would be relevant for GRC to be represented at the summit.

Cr Graham Engeman pointed out that while it was called a Queensland Growth Management Summit, it was really a South East Queensland growth summit.

Correspondence from the Premier’s Office shows that all SEQ mayors are attending the summit, held from March 30–31, along with Local Government Association of Queensland and some regional council representatives.

Ms Bligh wrote it was her intention that Local Government play an active role in the summit which will provide a great opportunity to contribute ideas and opinions about state growth.

“Only by working together will we tackle the challenges of population growth and lay the foundations to make Queensland strong, green, smart, healthy and fair,” she wrote.

Cr Graham Engeman called the summit an “insult to the rest of Queensland” if only SEQ Mayors were invited.

But, Cr Donna Neilson told the room that she was invited to attend the debate and dinner at the start of the summit and Mackay Regional Council had representatives participating in the summit.

Cr Jan Watt said the Gympie region was the only region that was undergoing a state regulatory planning process at the moment and coupled with the fact that GRC was an immediate neighbour to SEQ, Gympie should be “at the top of the table” when it came to submitting ideas and opinions about state growth.

Cr Watt said the Gympie region would welcome some growth as long as it was in line with Gympie’s current lifestyle.

“We don’t want to look like inner city Brisbane,” she said.

Cr Watt moved that council express disappointment to the Premier as the Gympie region was considered an area of significance that needed to be represented at the summit.

And further requested council immediately ask the Premier to reconsider.

The motion was seconded by Cr Rae Gate and carried.

Queenslanders can submit questions for the summit by visiting www.qld.gov.au/growthsummit

Gympie Times


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