De-amalgamation meeting hailed a success

Friday 16 December 2011 

De-amalgamation meeting hailed a success

Former Mayor, Mike Berwick, has indicated he will not run for a new Douglas Shire Council should the former Douglas Shire de-amalgamate from Cairns Regional Council.

Mr Berwick opened a public meeting held by Friends of Douglas Shire (FODS) on Monday night in Mossman, which drew 200 people to discuss the long-held desire to reform the Douglas Shire Council after it was forcibly amalgamated with Cairns City Council in 2008.

FODS invited a number of politicians to speak at the meeting, with former Mayor Berwick warmly accepted by the crowd.

He stated that although he fully supported the de-amalgamation, had no intention of running for a place on a proposed new council of a mayor and four councillors.

Other speakers at the meeting included Shadow Minister for Local Government, David Gibson, Australian Party Cook candidate, Lachlan Bensted, LNP Cook Candidate, David Kempton, long-time Mossman resident, John Anich, local playwright, Jack Heywood, Division 10 councillor, Julia Leu and FODS spokesman, Michael Gabour.

Current member for Cook, Jason O’Brien, was also invited, but declined to attend.

Former Douglas Shire Council manager, David Carey, was lauded for his in-depth power point presentation, which showed an estimated break-away cost of $3 million would be affordable to ratepayers.

Click here to see David Carey’s presentation

In August, state Liberal National Party candidate, Campbell Newman, told The Newsport he may give the Douglas region the opportunity to de-amalgamate from Cairns Regional Council should his party win next year’s state elections, but ratepayers would foot the bill.

"The LNP believes that local government is about local communities and if Port Douglas residents overwhelmingly support the creation of a new council, we won't stand in their way, as long as the figures stack up," Mr Newman said.
Mr Newman said a Boundary Review Commission would be set up within 100 days of the LNP winning government “to re-consider communities and boundaries”.

FODS spokesman, Robert Hanan, believes the meeting’s outcome proved that de-amalgamation was affordable.

“Considering our rate base has gone up 30 per cent since amalgamation, working on a worst-case scenario on not getting any monies back from the CRC and based on the LNP’s policies, to borrow $3 million over 10 years shouldn’t cost ratepayers much at all,” he said.

Mr Hanan said if any residents needed clarification on the power point presentation (above) on the deamalgamation, they were welcome to email

See further stories on this subject:

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