9 August, 2023
New division ‘just too big’
A REVIEW of two Tablelands Regional Council electoral divisions has raised the ire of Deputy Mayor Kevin Cardew who believes the proposal will disadvantage those in the proposed Division 2 which would encompass around 80 per cent of the local government area.
Cr Cardew, who is the Division 1 representative, spoke out against the proposal at a meeting in February but failed to gain support from other councillors after 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 Cardew could manage the additional workload if one of the towns was taken into Division 1.
Council voted to request the Queensland Electoral Commission review the boundaries which it has now done, despite pointing out that all six divisions of TRC had approximately the same number of electors.
“While all TRC divisions are currently within the legislatively prescribed quota with approximately the same number of electors, the council asked the Deputy Premier to consider whether the town of Herberton should be removed from Division 2 to Division 1,” the ECQ stated.
Under the ECQ proposal, Herberton and Moomin will be placed within Division 1 but to ensure that Division 2 keeps a similar number of voters, a significant area which includes the entire localities of Wondecla and Upper Barron have been cut off Division 1 and added into Division 2.
Cr Cardew says the proposed boundary changes are not needed and, in fact, would increase the land area in Division 2 significantly, the number of people to be represented, and travel distances.
“The main reason the Division 2 councillor put this forward is that she was dissatisfied over Division 1 not having a whole town incorporated in the division even though that division incorporates part of Atherton and Malanda townships and Wondecla,” Cr Cardew said.
“Division 2 is already the largest division by land mass and the proposed changes will significantly increase this to encompass approximately 80 per cent of the shire and this, in my mind, would significantly decrease the serviceability of the councillor of the proposed new division and its occupants and increase travel distances.”
The proposal is now out for public consultation and Cr Cardew is urging those affected by the changes to lodge a submission before it closes on 14 August.
“They did a boundary review before the last election and the numbers were pretty much similar across all divisions but now because they have taken Herberton out of Division 2, they have had to take around 300 voters out of Division 1 to even out the numbers,” Cr Cardew said.
That means properties in the Upper Barron and Wondecla areas will now have to be in Division 2, a move Cr Cardew doesn’t think is in those landowners’ interests.
He said he could not understand why changing the boundaries would be beneficial to anyone, and even thinks landowners could be worse off, given the intimate knowledge he has gathered over the years on issues affecting those property owners.
“The downside is that there will be one councillor to cover around 80 per cent of the shire area and it’s too big for one councillor to service that area effectively,” Cr Cardew said.
The Deputy Mayor is urging anyone affected by the proposed boundary changes to put a submission as soon as possible given the ECQ only released the new boundaries on 31 July and submissions close on 14 August.
Anyone who wishes to put a submission in can do so by emailing to LGCCsubmissions@ecq.qld.gov.au or mailing to Change Commission, GPO Box 1393, Brisbane QLD 4001. There is also an online form on the ECQ website - www.ecq.qld.gov/tablelands-boundary-review