We're punished for good management

THE State Government is rewarding failure and punishing Gympie Region ratepayers for pulling their weight, Mayor Ron Dyne said this week.

Cr Dyne (pictured) joined a state-wide chorus of protest over payments promised to councils as compensation for the costs of compulsory local government amalgamations.

“Too little too late and mostly none at all” was the feeling expressed by the Local Government Association of Queensland, which complained that the payments were less than 10 per cent of the estimated out-of-pocket suffering of councils forced to merge by government decree.

Gympie Region received nothing in the compensation round announced by Local Government Minister Desley Boyle on Thursday.

“We applied for $2,282,366,” he said, adding that the government was effectively punishing councils like Gympie which had lifted themselves to viability.

“I think it’s very unfortunate that councils that have really tried to apply amalgamation and get it to work have been disadvantaged.

“We put the cost on our residents and I don’t doubt that it hurt when we increased rates.

“One would hope this is just the first round and that other councils will be approved later.”

Local Government Association of Queensland president Paul Bell described the compensation package overall as disappointing.

“We have previously estimated compensation for the massive costs involved the amalgamations at $200million. The $18.3 million allocated to just six councils is a mere fraction of this,” he said.

“It is also disappointing the government has taken so long to come to this decision.”

Ms Boyle said the funding levels were determined after an independent Queensland Treasury Corporation (QTC) assessment.

“The QTC has examined 25 council submissions regarding the costs of their local government amalgamations,” she said.

“Each council will also receive individual reports prepared by QTC responding to their submissions and detailing the costs and the benefits of amalgamation and each council’s liquidity and financial sustainability position.” Payments were made to six councils including ones where “sustainability remains an issue”.

Gympie Times

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