Grow up and sort it out: Crisafulli on council fight
LOCAL Government Minister David Crisafulli has labelled Noosa Shire and Sunshine Coast councils' debate over $22 million as nothing more than a "childish squabble".
The minister's comments come after an independent accountant was brought in to analyse five points of contention involving millions of dollars sitting in cash reserves.
The unresolved issues - water and sewerage, carbon tax, unearned revenue, developer contribution and Unitywater dividend and tax equivalent - are the final part of the Sunshine Coast-Noosa split.
Noosa has lodged a submission for the full $22 million, which would come out of the pocket of Sunshine Coast Council if successful.
"To be honest, I'm a little bit peeved," Mr Crisafulli said. "I'd rather not be here in this position making an announcement. I'd rather the council had sorted it out themselves as grown ups."
Accountant Jeff Tate, who acted as the Transfer Manager in the separation of Douglas Shire Council from Cairns Regional Council, has been appointed to decide who owes what in the $22 million kitty.
Mr Crisafulli said the analysis would not involve scrutiny of de-amalgamation costs, but how the outstanding cash reserves should be split.
"Mr Tate will be looking at the facts and figures on the table and make a recommendation to me and we can get on with life," Mr Crisafulli said.
"People want to see councils that operate efficiently as possible, but they don't want to see a rock show and a circus."
Mr Crisafulli said the ongoing debate over the final cash balance created a perception of an "ongoing war" between the two councils.
"Had I just chosen a figure in the middle or just chosen to ignore it would have wept like a sore for many years," Mr Crisafulli said.
"Instead we take a two or three-month breather until the result comes in and then after it, no one whinges anymore - fair, equitable, balanced. End of story.
"I've said all along every single cent should be done fairly but I've also said all along every single cent of de-amalgamation should be borne by Noosa council."
Mr Crisafulli said Noosa would bear the cost of the accountant's report.
Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson said he welcomed the news that the same rules and methodology established at the start of the process would apply.
"Sunshine Coast Council has followed these rules which were agreed by the transfer committee as directed by the State Government de-amalgamation regulation," he said.
"This $22 million is an ambit claim - and the people of the Sunshine Coast should not be left to foot the bill for Noosa's de-amalgamation costs. The quicker this issue is settled the better."
The Daily approached Noosa Shire Council for comment but did not receive a response.