The Range News is Maleny's premium Weekly Newspaper delivered each Friday
to the People of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland from Glasshouse to
Kenilworth and west to Peachester.

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Shire amalgamation on
cards:  Chiarotto
by Cameron Outridge

Former chairman of the Hinterland Shire Steering Committee, Maleny resident, John Chiarotto has told hinterland residents they should be aware of an amalgamation of Caloundra and Maroochy into a Sunshine Coast City.

"Nine of the 10 candidates for Maroochy mayor at a recent meet-the-candidates dinner said that they supported a review for an amalgamation with Caloundra," Mr Chiarotto said.

"It's a furphy to say that if Caloundra doesn't want it, it can't happen.   There are logical reasons for amalgamation and those pushing for it - in both areas - will keep nibbling away until Premier Beattie is convinced it's a good idea and he'll call a Boundary Review.    The obvious benefits will then convince all Coast electors to vote in favour at a referendum."

"The scare tactic about Caloundra inheriting a share of Maroochy's debt is simply a bluff by those concerned about losing their present well-paid jobs.   Divisional rating would take care of who pays for the Maroochy debt in an amalgamation.   Indeed, Mayor Grosse mentioned at the dinner that Maroochy has already investigated introducing divisional rating as an equitable rates system.

"My concern is that as most of the population is on the Coast, that's where most of the councillors will be oriented and the money spent.    In a Sunshine Coast City council of say 12 councillors, the hinterland would have one, maybe two councillors," John said .

"The good news is that three Maroochy mayoral candidates said they'd support a simultaneous investigation for a hinterland shire.   It will be up to the new Hinterland Shire Action Group, and other community organisations, to be watchful and ready to mount a successful campaign for a hinterland shire when a Boundary Review is called.   If we do nothing, the amalgamation will happen and the hinterland will become an isolated, underfed appendage to the powerful Coast."

Our thanks once again to Cameron & Tanya Outridge
of the Range News Newspaper for this story.