Divisional councillors 'way to go'

DIVISIONAL councillors could be the way of the future in the Gladstone Regional Council area.

A report by the Law, Justice and Safety Committee about local government elections included 33 recommendations such as council areas with more than 30,000 people must introduce a divisional structure within its council.

The news was welcomed by two Gladstone region residents with local government experience – Peter Neilsen and Josie Meng.

“It’s the fairest way,” Mr Neilsen said.

He said the current councillors lived within a 20km radius of the Gladstone CBD and the surrounding areas should have their own representation in council.

Mr Neilsen said some representation would be better than no representation at all.

“I think it’s a wonderful idea,” Ms Meng said.

“While, from a councillor’s point of view, you need to be across all your region, it (division) then gives you an opportunity to be across your division and the community has one person they can contact. I think it gives the community a sense of ownership and representation.”

She said leading up to the amalgamation, the former Miriam Vale Shire councillors wanted a divisional structure in the new regional council, with one councillor in Miriam Vale shire’s former area and one in the Mt Larcom/Raglan area.

Ms Meng said the general feeling in the Miriam Vale area was that people wanted a divisional system.

Mr Neilsen said one of the benefits of a divisional system would mean that less people would have to vote in a by-election if a councillor had to resign.

Though not recommended, he said council terms should be reduced from four to three years.