Community & Business

2 November, 2023

Bid to change division boundaries fails

A BID to change two of the divisional boundaries of Tablelands Regional Council has failed.

Bid to change division boundaries fails - feature photo

In February, Division 2 Cr Annette Haydon made a plea to have the boundaries reviewed because of the high workload in her area.

At the time, Cr Haydon said she had three towns in her division being Ravenshoe, Herberton and Mt Garnet which presented a “huge challenge” and was, at times, “overwhelming”, and suggested Cr Kevin Cardew could manage the additional workload if one of the towns was taken into Division 1.

Cr Cardew was totally against the move but was outvoted by the remaining councillors. 

Under the proposal, Herberton and Moomin would have been placed within Division 1 but to ensure that Division 2 kept a similar number of voters, a significant area which included the entire localities of Wondecla and Upper Barron would have been cut off Division 1 and added into Division 2.

The Queensland Electoral Commission agreed to review the boundaries despite pointing out that all six divisions of TRC had approximately the same number of electors.

Last week, the Local Government Change Commission announced that all division boundaries in the TRC would remain the same after community consultation on the change was completed in July.

The commission received 48 submissions from the TRC area, with 18 supporting the change, 25 submissions against the change, and five submissions which did not express a definitive position.

“The Change Commission did not consider the proposed transfer of Herberton from Division 2 to Division 1 was in the public interest and recommended that there be no change to the divisional boundaries of the Tablelands Regional Council,” Electoral Commissioner Pat Vidgen said.

After hearing the decision, Cr Cardew said he was relieved that common sense had prevailed.

“The commission made the right decision – under the legislation, the number of voters in each division is relatively equal and changing the boundaries to put Herberton in Division 1 would have upset all the other boundaries and the other divisions,” he said.

“It also would have impacted upon the communities within the divisions of 1 and 2.

“With regards to the functions of the councillor in Division 2, it doesn’t matter where you live within the TRC footprint, all councillors are responsible for the hole of the shire, not just their particular division.

“I think it’s been looked at, and previously, I believe, and there are no changes so that’s a good thing for everyone - less cost to ratepayers and taxpayers for what would have been very little purpose.”

Cr Haydon said the review was requested because of the geographical distribution.

“I’m comfortable with the outcome of the review which was intended to balance civic responsibilities across councillors so that people feel represented,” she said.

“Some of the submissions indicate that people aren’t aware that most of the Wondecla township is actually represented by Division 1.”


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