Businesses hail fresh start as residents reel after shire sacking

Businesses in Maryborough are looking forward to a fresh start after the state government moved to sack the Central Goldfields Shire council and appoint administrators on Wednesday.

Paul Tidyman Automotives co-owner Nola Tidyman said she was confident the shire would be in safe hands under government-appointed administrators until the next council election in 2020.

But Ms Tidyman said there were a number of questions about the mishandling of ratepayers money that still needed answering.

“How do we recoup the monies that have been lost, what other errors have been made?” she said.

“We’re a poor shire, we can’t afford to do a lot of things and you wonder what else has happened – some of the projects that have been done, have they been done in the right way? Should the money have been spent elsewhere when it’s done?

“So those types of investigations will be good to be able to see what happens with that.”

The Havelock Street business owner said there had been signs all may not have been well at the town hall even before Wednesday’s government intervention, saying transparency was key to future administrations regaining the trust of residents.

“As a business owner, there’s always things that happen that you question and funds that are spent that you question,” she said.

“We had significant issues with the road out the front here when it was done and the way the money’s been spent through that, you look at it all the time and you wonder whether or not things have been done appropriately, but you don’t actually see the full detail.

“You ask questions and sometimes you don’t get the answers you’re looking for.”

Ms Tidyman backed the government’s plan to retain administrators in the shire offices until 2020 as an appropriate time frame to sort out the issues.

“I’ve been involved with school councils and those sorts of things and I know that there’s a lot of administrative problems that take a long time to sort out and I do think it will take that long to retrain and find appropriate leaders – I don’t think that’s going to be a simple process,” she said.

Meanwhile in Nolan Street, Prime’s Discount owner Geoff Prime also questioned the utility of residents having their say at an early election.

“We have been having our say but they’ve still been doing it so I don’t think that’s going to change anything,” he said.

“They just every year keep putting [rates] up and it doesn’t matter who we vote in there that just seems to be how it’s going, they normally just put it up every year and that’s it.”

Residents ‘shocked’ but divided on next election date

Ratepayers in Maryborough have expressed their surprise at a decision to sack the shire’s councillors on Wednesday, but had mixed feelings about returning to the polls.

Glenda Carroll said she was “shocked” to hear the news, after moving to the municipality six weeks ago.

“I read about it in the paper and I just thought this is just not good, the money that should have been there to do more for the community is just not there now so I hope they get it sorted out really soon,” she said.

But Ms Carroll said the state government’s plan to retain administrators until the next council election in 2020 was leaving it too late to let ratepayers have their say.

“No more major decisions really should be made until they put new councillors in because who do we really know that are working for us and not against us?” she said.

Long-time Maryborough resident Dennis Wright said the council had been “pretty good” overall, “apart from the shonky business”, but he was happy to let the administrators do their job.

“I think 2020’s only a couple of years away and they’ve been digging into it for a while so it could take a while to sort it out,” he said.