Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Bureaucrats Put Blackwater on A[euro][approximately]course of Destruction'; Community's Needs Being Overlooked, Expert Claims

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Bureaucrats Put Blackwater on A[euro][approximately]course of Destruction'; Community's Needs Being Overlooked, Expert Claims

Article excerpt

Byline: Di Stanley

BRISBANE bureaucrats dictating to Blackwater what is best for the town have set it on a course for destruction and desolation.

The alarming claims come from Dr Wendy Sarkissian, the eminent social planner who has taken on the role as voluntary Blackwater Community Progress Group ambassador to facilitate communication between the local group and the State and Federal governments.

The Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute adjunct associate professor holds grave concerns for Blackwater, which she said had been ignored and overlooked by community consultation plans and a sheer drive for development with which the town could not cope.

aI can see that in 20 years, Blackwater will be a rough camp rather than a family town,a Dr Sarkissian said weeks after an eight-day tour of Bowen Basin communities.

aThat's the path that it's on. What I see is that people have been seriously oppressed, disrespected and dismissed.a

To gain more momentum in securing the town's future, Dr Sarkissian believes the BCPG must transform itself from a group expressing concerns into a true lobby group, flush with members ready to take the fight all the way to Canberra.

While she said the work and achievements already accomplished were a credit to the group, she slammed both the current and former State Governments for their aexclusionary professionalisma a community consultations that provide residents avenues to vent and suggest viable solutions, but those recommendations were never adopted.

aThe model is that every now and then, senior bureaucrats from Brisbane fly in, sometimes counsel people and sometimes not, and have a meeting in the middle of the day when people need to take time off from work,a Dr Sarkissian said.

aI would have thought monthly meetings were appropriate given the size of the town.

aBut in these community engagement meetings, I observe outsiders, planners and government people telling the Blackwater people they know what is best for them. …

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