Started by ozbob, January 25, 2012, 17:40:22 PM
QuoteCouncil elections confirmed for April 28 Queenslanders will go to the polls for the second time in as many months with confirmation this evening council elections will be held on April 28."This new date allows for five weeks between the State and Local Government elections," Local Government Minister Paul Lucas said in a statement issued this evening."I apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused but five weeks between elections is a period of time that I think most people would agree is appropriate."Mr Lucas said councils would be granted an extension to frame their budgets."The government has agreed with the (Local Government Association of Queensland) that we will extend the deadline for the adoption of budgets from September 1, as is currently the case, by an additional 28 days to September 29," he said."The Electoral Commission Queensland has been consulted in relation to the machinery aspects of the later date and has advised that it can accommodate the new date within its administrative processes."Essentially the ECQ will add 28 days onto existing time frames so as to minimise any inconvenience."This means that the official calling of nominations for the council elections will take place on March 10 with councils to go into caretaker period on the same day."The confirmation followed calls by local government figures, who bitterly condemned Premier Anna Bligh's decision to delay council polling day.Local Government Association of Queensland president Paul Bell and Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said the state election should have been deferred, not the council elections.However both Cr Bell and Cr Quirk met today with Mr Lucas to recommend April 28 as the new date for local council elections.Mr Lucas this evening cofirmed that date.It came after Ms Bligh took the dramatic step of keeping the state election in March, choosing March 24.As a result, council elections had to be shifted from March 31 - the poll date set under fixed four–year terms.Ms Bligh said this morning the local government elections would be held on a date to be decided in late April or early May after she granted the flood inquiry an extension until March 16, and called a state election for March 24.She denied the decision was politically motivated.Earlier today, Cr Bell said there was no good reason for the Premier to delay local council elections because the Floods Commission of Inquiry needed extra time for further questioning."If any poll needs to be delayed it should be the state election. The local government sector is effectively paying for the mistakes of others,'' he said.Cr Bell described the situation as the state government dumping another broken promise into the "wheelbarrow" of broken promises made by the state government about not changing the date of Queensland's council elections."This is the actions of a political party that has been stunned by the angry glare of electors," he said."It is moving from one issue to another to try to get the electors to put down their baseball bats."He said it was "ludicrous" to push back council elections to hear further evidence about a matter which might impact on several state authorities and agencies."We had an agreement with the Premier in June 2010, that local governments would have fixed terms for four years March to March," he said.Cr Bell said this was reaffirmed by the Premier after a joint party investigation into Queensland elections."That commitment from the state government has been torn up and thrown into a wheel barrow of broken promises that we have received from this state government," he said.Cr Quirk said Ms Bligh's "disgraceful" decision to delay council elections impacted on 73 local government areas throughout the state."In fact what she has done is change the date for 73 elections; 73 local authorities right throughout Queensland," Cr Quirk said."The decision shows no regard for local government and it is a very poor reflection I think on the Premier and it does show a disregard for this level of government in this state."Cr Quirk said the decision to push back the election was difficult because 20 mayors had already indicated they would resign from March 31."The impact of putting this election back by one month means that there is going to be very little times for new mayors in many places in Queensland to put their new budget together," he said."That is not an ideal situation. In fact, it is a disgraceful situation."And again it shows what scant regard the Premier has for local government here in Queensland."Cr Bell agreed council budgets would be difficult to pull together given the new financial year started July 1, 2012."You can't push the budget back, what happens when you push the budget back is that the rate incomes don't come in," he said."That really does produce cash concerns for councils around out state."Councils believe April 28 allows families to negotiate the Easter school holidays before having to vote, noting that 40 per cent of councils will conduct postal votes for the first time in 2012."This allows a reasonable time for those councils who are going totally postal for the first time to be able to deliberate and for families to be able to get their votes back to the Electoral Commission,'' Cr Bell said.Read more: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/council-elections-confirmed-for-april-28-20120125-1qgvi.html
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