Four former Queensland shire councils have been given the opportunity to re-establish their identities after Saturdays decisive referendum results.

Mareeba, Douglas, Livingstone and Noosa residents voted to de-amalgamate as a result of forced amalgamations by the former Beattie ALP government.

Of the 19 shires across the state wishing to divorce themselves from the newly formed super shires, only four were given the go ahead, against the advice of the Boundaries Commissioner, LNP stalwart and Mackay tyre king, Col Meng.

These four councils are located in marginal LNP held state seats.

Mareeba de-amalgamation group leader and former Mayor Mick Borzi said it was a great day for democracy after a long and spiteful campaign which further split the Tableland communities of Atherton, Kuranda and Mareeba.

If the projected cost of the split published by the Queensland Treasury and the Tablelands Regional Shire is to be believed, hard-pressed ratepayers will cough up an extra $882 in the first year, followed by additional average yearly charges of $670 until 2017.

Allegations of a ‘payback’ by Beattie certainly ring true if the hostile reception he received from farmers and businessmen on his last visit to the Tablelands was anything to go by. Mareeba opponents of amalgamation for years held Atherton-born Peter Beattie personally responsible for the shotgun wedding.

Beattie maintained the Labor Government proceeded only because of corruption allegations made against the Mareeba council.

The proponents and opponents of the Mareeba referendum resorted to a malicious campaign of misinformation and invective which will have a more long term detrimental effect between two traditionally warring communities.

Worst of all was the performance of the LNP Government which, in spite of public assurances it supported the referendum, did not want a split to occur.

Prior to the state election in March 2012, the LNP candidate for Cook David Kempton allegedly told a then prominent council election candidate de-amalgamation would never take place.

He could be right because there is no mechanism in Queensland law stating the result of a referendum is binding on government.

Local Government Minister David Cristafulli on one hand supported a vote but in reality had two bob each way giving stern warnings the reformed council would not survive because of diminishing government grants and higher living costs for ratepayers.

His predictions proved correct when the LNP government then announced increased water charges by Sunwater of 160 per cent for Mareeba town supplies and an incredible 960 per cent hike for irrigators.

Not to forget a jump of 21 per cent for electricity charges recommended by the government instrumentality, the Queensland Competition Commission.

Tablelands Regional Council has said it already has a list that one could not jump over, of financially disadvantaged ratepayers paying off last years rates.

Pensioners will be hard hit.

The government will now appoint an interim CEO for these reformed councils with elections for new councilors expected at the end of the year.

The fight for the spoils of battle between the TRC and Mareeba is about to begin with accusations of who contributed what at amalgamation already reverberating around the shires.

TRC Mayor Rosa Lee Long was nonplussed at the result.

“We will be really pleased to see Mareeba go,” she said.

“I hope they survive.” – by staff writers