QLGRA October 2015 Newsletter.

QLGRA Inc Email Newsletter


Hi everyone

Due to time constraints I am resorting to an email newsletter this time around as there are some matters of urgency.  A lot has been happening in QLGRA Inc since the last newsletter. I have listed the items in two categories – firstly items where you OR your group might be interested to undertake or initiate supportive action; secondly items that are of general interest and concern.



  1. SUPPORT FOR ROB PYNE MP.  Recently Rob Pyne MP for Cairns has been quoted in the Brisbane Times 13 October 2015 as follows:

“Labor MP Rob Pyne will demand an inquiry into local government in Queensland, alleging fraud, bullying, nepotism and toxic environments are running rife.

Mr Pyne, a former Cairns Councillor, will use parliamentary privilege to table “explosive allegations” against the Tablelands Regional Council, where residents are to face a 30 per cent rate rise in the 2017/18 year, which Mr Pyne said had been brought to him residents.

Mr Pyne said he had also received complaints regarding other councils and believed a widespread inquiry into local government in Queensland was over due.

“As a result of a number of issues which have been brought to my office by constituents concerning the maladministration and allegedly illegal conduct within their local councils [I am calling for this inquiry],” Mr Pyne said on Tuesday.”

Read more: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/north-queensland-mp-rob-pyne-to-allege-fraud-bullying-in-local-government-20151013-gk8920.html?&utm_source=social&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=nc&eid=socialn:fac-14omn0037-optim-nnn:nonpaid-25062014-social_traffic-all-organicpost-nnn-btimes-o&campaign_code=nocode&promote_channel=social_facebook#ixzz3pJxUo0Ic

The Management Committee of the QLGRA Inc would strongly like to recommend member groups:

  1. read the article in full
  2. forward letters of support to Mr Pyne MP
  3. request that your local MP support Mr Pyne MP in this quest
  4. send copies of items to Amy Remekis the journalist who reported the story.
We think sending him examples of events from local areas across Queensland will help support this worthwhile cause.  Mr Pyne’s contact details are: Electorate Office Postal Address, PO Box 5241, CAIRNS QLD 4870; Phone: (07) 4229 0110  Fax: (07) 4229 0119
Email: cairns@parliament.qld.gov.au


  1. YOUR COMMUNITY FIRST MODEL LETTER to councils regarding coming council elections

Ken Park (Strategy Officer) from Caboolture has forwarded a copy of a letter that his group has forwarded to their local council regarding the Council Elections due in March 2016.  This letter makes some good points and the Management Committee recommends that all member groups might like to consider its use in their local area.  Letter is attached above.  (Pdf:MBRCLettertoCEO001.)


  1. A NEW MOTTO AND UPDATIING OUR GOALS One of our members has suggested we seek a new motto for the QLGRA Inc – we all agreed. This led to a further discussion about updating the goals of QLGRA Inc. I have attached current QLGRA goals above.

So members, please forward any ideas, suggestions or concerns  you have to joeandjoanna@bigpond.com.   We will be finalising these at the next Management Committee meeting Wednesday November 25th 2015 for recommendation to the members.


  1. CODE OF CONDUCT AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT:  One of our members is working on the Local Government Act  and the voluntary Code of Conduct in order to pressure the government for changes that will lead to more democratic and transparent councils.  If you have material that you wish to put forward please forward to joeandjoanna@bigpond.com.




  1. The Annual General Meeting was held in Maryborough in August. The meeting was well attended and bought together many of us concerned about local government.  The highlights were many and included the sharing of ideas and a speech from David Horner summarising aspects of the government report into the true costs of de-amalgamation.  The draft minutes (yet to be endorsed) are attached for your information. The following press release was prepared by Astrid Kennedy and Colin Hewett after the meeting.

“Big is NOT always Better

Following successful meetings with the Shadow Minister for Local Government and Local Government department heads to discuss the ongoing failings of Queensland’s amalgamated Councils, Queensland Local Government Reform Alliance (QLGRA) held their Annual General Meeting in Maryborough over the weekend of 29th, 30th August with the enthusiastic participation of their state wide member groups.

The difficulties caused by the forced council amalgamations of 2008 appear to be universal across all areas of Queensland.  The LGAQ, the Local Government Department and the Shadow Minister, Ms. Fiona Simpson, are all aware of the difficulties now being experienced by local communities.  Further meetings are planned with the view of rectifying the failures of the large regional councils including delivery of services and infrastructure to those now forgotten local community areas.

The Minister for Local Government Ms Jackie Trad MP is yet to meet with representatives from QLGRA but executive members are hopeful to engage in constructive discussion in the near future.

Re-elected QLGRA chairman Bob Johnson said “it is encouraging to our state wide member groups to finally be in a position to see the beginnings of pro-active discussions to address the failings of large Councils in the local communities”.  Mr Johnson went on to say “with the upcoming Council elections in March 2016 QLGRA, supported  by its member groups, will be at the forefront of the push to rectify the disastrous impacts suffered by local communities since the now failing amalgamated councils were forced on to the people of Queensland”.



  1. Meetings with Fiona Simpson MP (Buderim) Shadow Minister for Local Government and Max Barrie (Director, Program Implementation and Review, Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning) were held on August 26 2015.  Bob Johnson, Ken Park, Geoff McKay, Joseph Monsour and Joanna Kesteven attended the meetings.  The meetings were cordial and legitimate concerns were expressed by all parties.  There is an agreement for further meetings. We are hoping to advance the idea that the government initiate an inquiry into local government and review the amalgamations.  The management committee is working on the approach we will take to future meetings.


  1. Other Publicity:   Three items of interest to report.  Firstly, Joe Bridgeman from the New Peak Downs Reform Association did a great interview on his local radio. It can be found at: http://blogs.abc.net.au/queensland/2015/10/peak-downs-residents-want-a-return-of-their-old-council.html?site=capricornia&program=capricornia_breakfast.

Secondly a letter from Joanna  to Macca’s Australia All Over was read out in full on Sunday October 11.  It offers to put member groups in contact with Macca to explain the impacts of amalgamation on communities throughout Qld – if you would like to have your local issues raised on Macca’s Australia All Over  please don’t hesitate to request linking.  A sound bite of the event is attached.


Thridly, Cliff Thomas from Maryborough reported that a candidate for council election read out the attached speech to the Government organised Community Cabinet held in Maryborough.  This speech is attached:  2015.10MarybroughADdress to Hon Jackie Trad.


  1. News from NZ: recently our Chair Bob Johnson participated in a radio interview in NZ effectively promoting that amalgamation is not effective. Cliff Thomas also gave a report at AGM about his recent trip to NZ where the vote to amalgamate councils was soundly defeated:

“Hawke’s Bay voters have overwhelmingly rejected plans to amalgamate the region’s five councils into a single body that would have become the country’s fourth-largest local authority.

The Local Government Commission’s proposal to create a single Hawke’s Bay Council was opposed by about two-thirds of voters who took part in a binding poll that closed at noon on Tuesday.

Electoral officer Warwick Lampp said that, with about 97 per cent of the vote counted on Tuesday afternoon, 66.2 per cent were against the amalgamation proposal, and 33.5 per cent were in favour.”



  1. QLGRA Supporter against State Government  4 year terms.  One of our supporters is very concerned about the current discussion to implement 4 yearly terms for the state government. He is interested to hear from anyone who has similar concerns. If you wish to be connected with John, please let me know and I will pass on your details.


  1. Water Grab: Another member has drawn to our attention an article in the Courier Mail where Water Minister Mark Bailey floated the idea of water privatisation models.  After the experience of members in areas where there is amalgamated water supplies this is of deep concern.  Please read the above article.


  1. Websites of interest:


  1. Regional Round Ups:  Here are just some of the events of interest from around Queensland:
    • Childers Victory – ( previously the Isis Shire) reported that recently the Bundaberg Regional Council attempted to remove divisional voting which would have caused even further difficulty for the outlying towns. This was roundly rejected by the Boundaries Commissioner after many submissions from those affected. Encouragingly, it was rejected quickly too. Work into stopping the move came from several outlying towns around Bundaberg.
    • Whitsunday Regional Ratepayers Association Inc also reported that moves to change their council boundaries which would reduce the representation from the northern areas of the shire were also rejected by the Boundaries Commissioner.
    • Unity Water at it again – Unity Water (another sad creation of the 2008 amalgamation process)  is now accepting toxic water from a CSG Plant in NSW. “ Kyogle GAG member Johanna Evans said the waste water from AGL’s Gloucester wells had been rejected by several NSW contractors because they did not have the facilities to deal with it. She said Toxfree had been contracted to transport the waste all the way to Narangba in Brisbane.” http://www.echo.net.au/2015/08/gas-activists-target-toxic-tankers/.   Unitywater  operates the former water assets of the Moreton Bay Regional Council which chooses not to have either its mayor or councillors sit on the Board.





Joanna Kesteven

Secretary QLGRA Inc

Phone: 07 54635304

Mobile: 0413 242 893

32 Panorama Drive, Roadvale 4310