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Maranoa Council spends 10 minutes debating name change

A MOTION to simply endorse a name change of the LGAQ Bush Councils Compact has wound up the Maranoa Regional Council in over ten minutes of debate and misunderstanding over a simple proposal.

The proposal was to change the name to Rural and Regional Compact, given that coastal councils such as the Gladstone Region and Burdekin Shire aren’t often considered ‘bush’.

No changes to the operation of the compact were proposed, and the motion was an endorsement that was also run by other councils.

Councillor Cameron O’Neil moved the motion in the ordinary meeting on November 25, saying there was universal support to change the name.

“The bush compact has been developed over a number of years as a tool to illustrate a partnership between the councils that reside in the more regional areas of the state, with the state government,” Cr O’Neil said.

“This was discussed at the LGAQ conference; there is universal support for the actual compact itself.”

Despite the fact the motion would have no effect on the running of the organisation, mayor Tyson Golder queried Cr O’Neil whether the councils involved should be capped at a certain population.

“I think there’s a lot of goodwill for the Bush Councils,” Cr Golder said.

“But the size of this and changing the name doesn’t... I just think it’s too big and it should be down to the councils with small populations that are struggling, and I believe they need the most help.

“So, I certainly don’t support changing the name to Bush and Rural, when you have large councils, which I don’t believe have the same challenges...”

Cr Hancock interjected saying the proposed name is ‘Rural and Regional Councils’.

“OK, sorry, to Rural and Regional Compact,” Cr Golder said.

“I believe the focus should be on the bush councils and the smaller councils with population deficits.”

Deputy mayor Geoff McMullen said he’s never heard of the LGAQ Bush Councils Compact before.

Cr O’Neil explained to him that the term ‘compact’ means a suite of policies put in place by the ‘Bush Councils’.

Councillor Johanne Hancock said the compact has already been voted on and stands as it is.

“What they’re asking from council is what we think it should be called, not who we think should be in it,” Cr Hancock said.

She also reiterated that it is only a name change, nothing else.

“Whether we change the name or not, will not change who’s in and who’s out,” she said.

The motion was eventually passed 7-1, with Cr Golder voting against and councillor George Ladbrook being absent.


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