FIVE years ago Noosa de-amalgamation proponents promised to never give up.
They kept their promise and so has the Newman-led state government who fulfilled their election promise with the appointment of a boundaries commissioner within their first 100 days of government.
Last Friday Local Government Minister David Crisafulli announced former Mackay mayor Colin Meng would take on the role as Queensland's boundaries commissioner.
Mr Meng will work with councils across the state, including Noosa, which are dissatisfied with the 2008 forced amalgamationsand assess their cases for de-amalgamation.
After years of grassroots protests, Friends of Noosa president Bob Ansett welcomed the appointment and shared a bit of hard-earned advice.
"We are now a step closer to the inevitable day we de-amalgamate," he said.
"It also shows that just because something is done, if it's not right, you can change it."
Noosa Independence Alliance spokesman Noel Playford said he was pleased the appointment had been gained by someone who had experience in council, rather than a government bureaucrat.
He said the government process would present an independent voice of authority on all aspects of de-amalgamation including costs.
NIA commissioned its own independent report into the costs as did the Sunshine Coast Council.
However, it is now up to Mr Meng to assess the costs involved with the Queensland Treasury Corporation before submitting an analysis report by November 28.
The report will be made public and include an analysis of the benefits and costs, financial forecasts for the de-amalgamated council, recommendations on reallocating community assets and electoral arrangements.
If de-amalgamation is approved, the proposal will go to a referendum in the relevant area, where residents wishing to break away can vote for or against the issue.
Groups keen to break away need to provide a petition signed by 20% of the voting population, a detailed estimate of costs and a community-backed submission based on the pre-amalgamation council boundaries.
They also need to understand that they will foot the bill.
Mr Meng will be on hand to assist all applying bodies throughout the process.
The former Mackay Regional Council mayor is familiar with the emotional issue of amalgamation having led Mackay council immediately after its restructure.
"Queenslanders feel very strongly about their communities and there is no doubt that some still feel they lost their identity during the forced amalgamations in 2008.
"This process will help them look to the future," Mr Meng said.
Mr Crisafulli said the de-amalgamation process would not be easy but communities deserved to put their case.
"We would prefer councils try to make amalgamation work because, despite the pain and suffering Labor put many communities through, the social and financial costs to de-amalgamate could be even worse," Mr Crisafulli said.
"While many councils have moved on after the brutal amalgamations, in a handful of cases, the wounds are still raw."
Noosa de-amalgamation proponents have already fulfilled all but one of the government's requirements- providing a petition signed by at least 20% of the voting population. However, work was already under way to make this happen.
Groups wishing to split have until August 29 to submit their case to the Local Government Minister.
Any council wishing to de-amalgamate must:
- Provide a strong, evidence-based, community- backed submission based on the pre-amalgamation local government boundaries.
- Table a detailed estimate of the potential financial costs.
- Demonstrate an understanding that the former shire wishing to de-amalgamate will have to meet all costs involved.
- Provide a petition signed by at least 20% of the voting population.
- Provide a submission to the Local Government Minister by August 29