Gladstone Mayor Matt Burnett. Photo Paul Braven / The Observer
Gladstone Mayor Matt Burnett. Photo Paul Braven / The Observer Gladstone Mayor Matt Burnett. Ph

The battle for Baffle Creek hits roadblock

A PLAN for Baffle Creek to defect from the Gladstone to Bundaberg council has taken a hit with neither council on board with the move.

Two petitions from Baffle Creek area residents were tabled in Queensland Parliament calling for the government to investigate if the area could be moved from the Gladstone council area to the Bundaberg council area.

But in her response to the petition, Local Government Minister Jackie Trad, said government policy needed a community request, support from both councils, proof the adjusted councils would be financially viable and a successful referendum of the affected people.

"While I acknowledge the signatories' efforts in demonstrating their support for the requested change, the above criteria need to be met before the changes requested by the petitioners to BRC and GRC boundaries can be considered by the government,” Ms Trad said.

In a single line statement Gladstone mayor Matt Burnett poured cold water on Baffle Creek's prospects of defecting to Bundaberg.

"The Gladstone region is perfect the way it is,” he said.

Similarly Bundaberg mayor Jack Dempsey said his council had no intention of absorbing Baffle Creek.

"While I understand the frustrations of Baffle Creek residents who conduct 99% of their business in the Bundaberg region, Bundaberg Regional Council has no current plans in relation to extending our boundaries,” he said.

"We have a tremendous working relationship with our neighbouring councils, including Gladstone Regional Council, and anything we can do to better support them and the residents of Baffle Creek, we will happily assist.”

One of the petitions calling for the boundary change said there is a "lack of connection” between the Baffle Creek and Rules Creek areas

"Local residents have strong historical links with Bundaberg, but were amalgamated into the Gladstone Region Council,” the petition said.

The petition said Gladstone's focus on being a port was costing the area tourists.

"Residents believe a decline in their vibrant tourism and business activity can be traced to the amalgamation process into Gladstone and loss of connectivity with the Bundaberg-based regional council. Tourism promotion links with Bundaberg were lost in the amalgamation, and declining tourist visits resulted.”

The Queensland Electoral Commission did not respond to a request for comment regarding how a Baffle Creek referendum would be held.