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Monday, 26 March 2012

Shire Elections, Coming Soon, but not Soon Enough for Me.

And no, Frodo isn't running this year, as far as I know.

I know what you're thinking.  Hasn't he said enough about politics in the last week?  The answer is:  I am Canadian.  It is ingrained in me to keep talking about politics until someone tells me to shut up.  And even then, I can still choose to ignore em.

I'm bringing this up because there is another election in Queensland this year.  We go to the polls to pick our local Shire representatives.

I bring this up because a few years ago, and much against the wishes of everyone, the State Labour government, under Peter Beattie, forced many shires to merge into "regional councils".  The Shire in which I live was absorbed, along with 3 others to form the Tablelands Regional Council.  At the time, this move was opposed by everyone, except of course for the people who made the decision.

So, not so many weeks ago, 600 or so people in Mareeba, one of the shires forced to merge with us got together discuss issues affecting the town. (Cairns Post, Mar. 2, 2012).

They promptly blamed amalgamation and voted 600 to 1 in favour of devolution.  This, at least, means that I am actually in agreement with people in Mareeba.

You see, I don't want Mareeba in my Shire as it turns out.  There are number of reasons for this.  The biggest reason is the climate there is different from the climate here.  I live on the edge of rainforest, as does the residents of Herberton, Eacham, and Atherton.  The land is different, and the air is cooler.  Our interests, therefore, are different.

Further, there is a marked difference in attitude between Mareeba and Atherton when it comes to business.  One of the best examples was the decision by McDonald's to locate in Atherton.  As I understand it, they tried Mareeba first, but received a less than warm welcome.  Atherton, clearly, and certainly when I moved here, had a more diversified and vibrant business community than its competition to the North.  Atherton council seemed more business friendly.

Indeed, many locals talk about the Mareeba Mafia.  This loose knit group of people acting in concert in order to protect themselves from competing business and so on.

But business is the lifeblood of any community, and so, a willingness to remain open to new businesses critical to any community's future.  I want to be in a community that is pro business.  I want to live in a community that recognizes that role in the community.

So, if they don't want to be part of the regional council, fine.  Let's not fight to keep them.

I hope the door doesn't hit them on the ass on the way out.

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