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First council merger ballot results send resounding no message

11th December 2007The Bligh Labor Government cannot ignore the resounding opposition to
forced council mergers being recorded in postal vote results released
this week, the Queensland Coalition said today.

Shadow Local Government Minister Howard Hobbs said he expected the
strong no votes registered by Noosa, Redcliffe and Pine Rivers residents
would be echoed right throughout Queensland.

“The dictatorial and arrogant way the State Labor Government has forced
council amalgamations on to Queensland communities has understandably
generated widespread anger and outrage,” he said.

“About 700,000 people in 83 council shires from Torres Strait to
Stanthorpe, and from urban areas like Noosa, Pine Rivers and Redcliffe
through to outback communities like Tambo and Blackall, now have the
chance to have the say they were denied.

“The first results that have come in this week from the Australian
Electoral Commission plebiscites have been particularly strong with more
than 95 per cent of Noosa voters opposing the amalgamation of their
council with Maroochy and Caloundra.

“Similarly, nearly 85 per cent of the Redcliffe residents and about two
thirds of the Pine Rivers residents who participated in the voluntary
vote registered their opposition to forced council amalgamations in
their area.

“These results send a strong and crystal clear message that voters don’t
want their councils amalgamated and the State Labor Government needs to
go back to the drawing board to ensure communities are properly
consulted and involved in the future direction of their local
governments.”

Mr Hobbs said while the ballot for the six urban south-east Queensland
councils was now closed, residents in every other affected area had
until 14 December to have their say.

“Every resident who is concerned about Labor’s destruction of their
local community needs to get their ballot paper in by Friday and
encourage all their neighbours and friends to do the same,” he said.

Media Contact – Howard Hobbs 46 22 88 88

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