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Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council


Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council

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									Northern Peninsula Area
Regional Council

                   Northern Peninsula
                                                                        1.	 Recommendation
                                                                        The	Commission	recommends:

                                                                        (i)     the existing local governments of Bamaga
                                                                                Island Council, Injinoo Aboriginal Council,
                                                                                New Mapoon Aboriginal Council, Umagico
                                                                                Aboriginal Council and Seisia Island Council
                                                                                are abolished and a new local government
                                                                                formed based on the combined area of the
                                                                                five existing local governments;
                                                                        (ii)    the new local government be called Northern
                                                                                Peninsula Area Regional Council;
                                                                        (iii)   the new local government be divided with
                                                                                five councillors and a mayor subject to the
                                                                                outcomes of consultation on the detail of the
                                                                                regional local government; and
                                                                        (iv)    the new local government be classed as a
                                                                                regional local government.

2.	 Comparison	of	new	and	previous	local	governments

  New LoCAL GoveRNMeNt                                  PRevIoUS LoCAL GoveRNMeNtS
                                       Peninsula                                    New
                                       Area             Bamaga           Injinoo    Mapoon     Umagico    Seisia
                                       Regional         Island           Aboriginal Aboriginal Aboriginal Island
  Name                                 Council          Council          Council    Council    Council    Council
  Class                                Regional         Island           Aboriginal Aboriginal Aboriginal Island
                                                        Council          Council    Council    Council    Council
  Size                                 1030 sq          67 sq km         811 sq km 96.5 sq               52.9 sq         2.6 sq km
                                       km                                          km                    km
  Population 2004 estimate             2,175            786              446             360             288             144
  electors 2007                        1,149            457              272             172             147             101

  electoral arrangements               Divided          Undivided        Undivided       Undivided       Undivided       Undivided
                                       5 councillors    4 councillors    4 councillors   5 councillors   4 councillors   2 councillors
                                       plus mayor*      plus             plus mayor      including       plus mayor      plus
                                                        chairperson                      mayor                           chairperson

  electors per councillor              230              114              68              43              49              54
  excluding mayor
  Net assets as at 30 June             $96.6            $39.7            $16.2           $19.6           $11.5           $9.6
  2006                                 million          million          million         million         million         million

 * Indicative only. To be determined in the development of legislation for the Regional Council.

                                                                                                Local Government Reform Commission
Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council

3.	 Rationale	for	the	new	                             3.3	 	 Other	

    local	government	                                  • the Commission believes the formation of a
                                                         regional council for this compact area with
                                                         its diverse population and range of particular
3.1	 		 Service	delivery,	operations	and	                indigenous council issues provides a viable
        management	                                      outcome and a useful way forward for future
                                                         consideration of similar amalgamations
• Improving service delivery through achieving           elsewhere.
  economies of scale by bringing together five         • the Commission believes the inclusion of Seisia
  separate local government administrations              Island Council and Bamaga Island Council into
  including executive and corporate functions,           this grouping delivers a superior outcome than
  finance, and information technology.                   if these two councils were included in the torres
• Improved planning and regional development.            Strait Island Regional Council due to:
• Improving the capacity of the local government         - sharing a common and contiguous boundary;
  through a larger asset base improves the               - having a high degree of economic
  prospects of the new council in attracting,                interdependence; and
  retaining and better developing the skills base        - developing co-operative arrangements
  required to undertake the activities of a local            relating to the economic and social
  government.                                                development of their communities.
• Strengthening the ability of the new council         • electoral arrangements of the new local
  to engage with industry and State and                  government should be developed during a
  Federal Governments in relation to tourism,            consultation process similar to that being
  environmental issues, social services and              undertaken for the development of the torres
  regional development.                                  Strait Island Regional Council.
• Amalgamating the five local governments is
  likely to improve the quality of local government
  governance through improved decision making          4.	 Financial	sustainability
  and accountability
• Improving the capacity to manage risks.              the Northern Peninsula Area Councils did not
                                                       participate in the Financial Sustainability Review
                                                       process by Queensland treasury Corporation
3.2	 	 Communities	of	interest                         However, the amalgamated local government
                                                       has a greater capacity to improve its financial
• the five Northern Peninsula Area Councils have       sustainability through its ability to:
  a community of interest based on geographic,         • improve economies of scale;
  social and economic interests.                       • attract, retain and develop skilled staff as well
• Councils have similar industry focus on                 as build capacity of systems; and
  agriculture, fishing and the growing tourism         • undertake regional planning and infrastructure
  market.                                                 delivery.
• Councils are reliant on linkages via the port
  access at Seisia for key supplies to the region.     the Commission recognises that the regional council
• Northern Peninsula Area Councils have close          is likely to have ongoing issues with financial viability
  linkages to Cook and torres Shires.                  that will need to be closely monitored.
• Northern Peninsula Area Council currently have a
  range of cooperative measures involving all five
  councils and other levels of government.
• Bamaga and Seisia are Island Councils which are
                                                       5.	 Implementation	issues
  based on mainland Cape York that have linkages       the Commission recommends the development
  to both torres Strait Island Councils and mainland   of the regional local government for the Northern
  Northern Peninsula Area Aboriginal Councils.         Peninsula Area be via a similar process as
                                                       proposed for the torres Strait Island Regional

Local Government Reform Commission
                                                             Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council

Council. this is outlined in more detail in Part 7 on
Aboriginal and torres Strait Councils.                  7.	 Suggestions
the implementation issues for the torres Strait         the Commission gave consideration to the 13
outlined in the publication Local Government in         suggestions it received in relation to the area
the torres Strait – the way Forward may also be         proposed to comprise the Northern Peninsula Area
relevant to the regional local government for the       Regional Council.
Northern Peninsula Area. these include:
• that it develop community plans which set             7.1		 	 Details	of	suggestions
    out the council’s vision and strategies for the
    immediate future and form the basis of its          the Commission examined relevant suggestions
    budget and undertake community consultation         relating to Northern Peninsula Area Regional
    in the development of these plans; and              Councils. Key suggestions included:
• targeted intervention strategies to meet the          • A confidential suggestion on behalf of four
    Regional Council’s transitional requirements            councils from the Northern Peninsula Area
    including:                                              proposes a regional government model for the
    - assistance in developing community plans;             Northern Peninsula Area similar to that proposed
    - capacity building activities to address               for the torres Strait in the publication Local
        skills shortages and transition to the new          Government in the torres Strait –the way Forward.
        arrangements; and                               • torres Shire Council’s suggestion which
    - provisions to improve council performance             proposes an amalgamation of all Island
        and accountability, in particular financial         councils, Aboriginal Councils in the Northern
        management and changes to electoral                 Peninsula Area, the Island Coordinating Council,
        arrangements.                                       torres Shire Council and torres Strait Regional
                                                            Authority. the new local government would
the Commission also notes:                                  have five wards which recognise five traditional
• ongoing financial viability including funding             culture language groups and would be called
   arrangements (such as State and Federal                  ‘torres Strait/Zenadth Kes Local Government’.
   government grant funding) will need to be            • Bamaga, Umagico and New Mapoon suggestions
   closely monitored; and                                   outlining opposition to torres Shire Councils
• issues relating to land tenure arrangements will          suggestion and inclusion of the Northern
   need to be resolved by the State Government              Peninsula Area Councils in the torres Strait
   before the new local government is formed.               Regional Council. these councils also outline
                                                            their preference to stand-alone or a whole of
                                                            Northern Peninsula Area amalgamation involving
6.	 Boundary	issues                                         all five councils.
                                                        • the Queensland Government policy document
Following the March 2008 local government                   Local Government in the torres Strait – the
election, consideration should be given to possible         way Forward outlines rationale for all 17 Island
boundary changes involving the Northern Peninsula           councils merging into one regional council and
Area Regional Council with both Cook and                    named “torres Strait Island Regional Council”
torres Shires. In particular the Minister for Local         with 17 councillors (one from each existing
Government, Planning and Sport should consider              Island council) and a directly elected mayor.
whether boundary issues raised in suggestions           • Communiqué from Indigenous mayors forwarded
relating to the Northern Peninsula Area Regional            by the Queensland Government that outlined
Council should be referred to the electoral                 opposition to any forced amalgamations.
Commission of Queensland as a reviewable matter.        • Individual Island council suggestions including
                                                            Seisia and Iama opposing forced amalgamations
                                                            of Island councils.
                                                        • Regional organisation of Cape York Councils
                                                            opposition to the amalgamation of Cape York
                                                            Councils and preference for establishing a regional

                                                                            Local Government Reform Commission
Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council

  model to be managed by the State Government to
  assist all existing Cape York Councils.               9.	 Objectives	set	for	
• Island Coordinating Council suggestion
  supporting the proposed regional council for
  the torres Strait including the inclusion of Seisia
  and Bamaga.                                           oBJeCtIveS             oBJeCtIveS ACHIeveD
• Cook Shire Council suggestion outlines
  difficulties in the amalgamation of Aboriginal        Facilitates optimum    Yes to the extent possible
  and Island councils with mainstream local             service delivery       given the very small
  governments.                                          to Queensland          population, geographic area
                                                        communities.           and its resources including
                                                                               financial and human
7.2	 	 Commission’s	comments	on	suggestions                                    resources.
                                                        ensure local           Yes to the extent possible
• For detail on the Commission consideration of
                                                        government             given the very small
  suggestions on torres Strait Island Councils see
                                                        effectively            population, geographic area
  Part 7 on Aboriginal and torres Strait Island
                                                        contributes to         and its resources including
                                                        and participates       financial and human
                                                        in Queensland’s        resources
• the Commission also considers that the
                                                        regional economies.
  continuation of separate local governments
  will not facilitate optimum service delivery          Manages economic,      Yes to the extent possible
  for the region and would impair each local            environmental and      given the limitations of the
  government’s ability to develop capacity to           social planning        region as a consequence
  address social, environmental and economic            consistently           of capacity constraints in
  development issues facing the region. In              with regional          respect of resources, access
  addition, significant communities of interest         communities of         to expertise and finances.
  exist among all Northern Peninsula Area               interest.
  councils.                                             effectively partners   Yes to the extent possible
                                                        local government       given the limitations of the
• the benefits in improved economies of scale,          with other levels      region as a consequence
  capacity to develop the skills base, and              of government to       of capacity constraints in
  undertake broader regional planning to outweigh       ensure sustainable     respect of resources, access
  any shortcomings put forward by the local             and viable             to expertise and finances.
  governments in the suggestions outlined above.        communities.

8.	 Other	Commission	
Careful consideration was given to the communities
of Seisia and Bamaga and their inclusion in
the Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council.
the Commission’s view is these two mainland
councils have a stronger community of interest
and economic lilnks with Injinoo, New Mapoon
and Umagico Aboriginal Councils. this is explained
in more detailed in Part 7 of the report headed
“Aboriginal and torres Strait Island Councils”.

Local Government Reform Commission

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