Arana Hills meet the candidates
MOVE TO BRISBANE
Time to act!
Local Government Minister declines appeal
On 17 April 2013 the Local Government Minister, David Crisafulli MP declined the Ratepayers Action Group's appeal against the Change Commissioner's Final Determination to not change the boundary to enable the Hills District to move into Brisbane City Council's jurisdiction.
In doing so the Minister invoked S.21 of the Local Government Act 2009 which provides that a decision of the Change Commissioner cannot be appealed against.
The appeal had been lodged on the grounds that the Change Commissioner, through his determination, had unfairly prejudiced Hills District peoples' democratic right to have a say on who should govern them at local level.
The Local Government Change Commissioner (Queensland Electoral Commissioner) released his report on 8 March 2013 rejecting the proposal that the Hills District and Bunya be transferred to Brisbane City Council. The report was issued in final determination form.
He deemed the greater public interest for the people of Brisbane and Moreton Bay was better served by maintaining the status quo.
He determined that Bunya had a greater affinity with Moreton, and that while response from the Hills District was mixed, he dismissed the Hills District's claims on the basis of the costs that the State government would have to bear in relation to:
(1) a poll of all residents of both Brisbane and Moreton Bay on the issue
(2) the widescale redistributions of electorate boundaries on both sides of the border that the potential injection of 14,000+ voters from the Hills District into Brisbane would cause.
He felt that the weight of the community's arguments were insufficient to overcome the cost of changing boundaries.
His conclusion, in terms of the extent of the polling, is unprecedented in that the last similar case in Queensland, way back in 1995 when the Karana Downs/Kholo community wanted to leave Ipswich and go to Brisbane, the only areas that were polled were Karana Downs and Kholo.
In dismissing our case he avoided the central plank of our submission that our area's greater community of interest with Brisbane was clearly demonstrated by our geographic co-location with the Brisbane suburbs that immediately surround us and our daily interaction with people from these suburbs.
The Commissioner's report can be found via the Electoral Commission's website at www.ecq.qld.gov.au under the heading Hills District Review Final Determination.
Where to from here? Our appeal to the Local Government Minister has fallen on deaf ears. At this stage, having exhausted all current legal avenues, we feel we can only now bide our time, put the issue on the shelf, and bring it out again when the state government environment is more amenable to change.