Queensland Premier Peter Beattie said yesterday the three mayors of the Gladstone region were prepared to work together
Queensland Premier Peter Beattie said yesterday the three mayors of the Gladstone region were prepared to work together

Region's councils enter an uneasy union

CALLIOPE Mayor George Creed suggested they live together in amalgamation sin.

Not so, said Gladstone Mayor Peter Corones.

He wanted to make it legal.

'Let's get married,' he proposed.

Two of the three mayors may have been brought kicking and screaming to the wedding table, but it was all peace and harmony between Crs Creed, Corones and Miriam Vale Mayor Tom Jeffery, according to Queensland Premier Peter Beattie yesterday.

The Premier was in Gladstone to talk to the mayors about the merger plans for the three councils announced in Brisbane last week.

His plane was a little late and he was escorted from the airport to the Gladstone City Council chambers by Mayor Corones.

There was no mistaking the grim looks of Crs Creed and Jeffery or of their respective CEOs Graeme Kanofski and Greg Powell just before they closed the door of the chamber for a discussion that took about half an hour.

The press and the union delegates, who were to meet with the Premier next, cooled their heels outside.

The beaming Premier emerged from the meeting accompanied by Cr Corones and joked about there being only one issue on the day.

He said the purpose of the meeting was to 'sit down with the three mayors to explain the transition stages of amalgamation'.

Mr Beattie said he was pleased with how the meeting proceeded and he was encouraged 'by the positive and constructive attitude' taken by the mayors.

Cr Corones lent his voice saying he was "proud of the other two mayors" and their spirit of co-operation.

He likened the partnership to a wedding.

'George (Creed) believes we should go on living together, I've suggested we get married,' he said yesterday. After the meeting Cr Jeffery said there was 'a good working relationship at the meeting'.

'But I'm not surprised because we have worked with each other on other occasions before,' he said.

Cr Creed said he had expressed his anger and disappointment to the Premier over the forced amalgamations.

'I acknowledged he had the legal right to do what he did and that we at Calliope Shire were determined to do our best for the region with the situation we are left in,' he said.

He said the issue of divisions was discussed "and the general consensus is not to have them".

However he said the councils would discuss the matter further and take the decision back to the government on Friday.