Livingstone Shire Council and Rockhampton Regional Council - External Boundary Review

The Local Government Change Commission (Change Commission) has been asked to assess a proposal to change the boundaries between Livingstone Shire Council and Rockhampton Regional Council. See the Minister's referral here PDF (1.28 MB).

The proposed change is to transfer three suburbs, Glenlee, Rockyview and Glendale, from Livingstone Shire Council to Rockhampton Regional Council.

Voluntary survey results

A voluntary survey was conducted to provide an opportunity for electors across the Livingstone Shire Council and the Rockhampton Regional Council areas to have their say. The survey closed on 4 July 2022 and the results are now available.

The survey results can be found here

Written submissions

The period for providing written submissions on the proposed boundary change closed at 5.00pm on 4 July 2022.

Each submission received has been reviewed to determine whether it is able to be published as part of the review material. The Change Commission aims to publish all submissions where appropriate to do so. However, it reserves the right to redact content, or not publish submissions at its discretion.

Published submissions can be found here.

What is the Change Commission considering as part of its review?

Public consultation

The Change Commission is considering public feedback as part of the review.

A voluntary survey has been undertaken to gather the views of enrolled electors in Livingstone Shire Council and Rockhampton Regional Council, and results are now available. The Change Commission will be considering the level of participation in public consultation, the outcomes and supporting information.

Submissions from Livingstone Shire Council and Rockhampton Regional Council were received and published prior to the public consultation period.

The Change Commission has also accepted written submissions from anyone who wished to provide their view or information they would like to be considered.

Financial assessment

In line with the Minister’s referral, the Change Commission engaged the Queensland Treasury Corporation (QTC) to assess the potential financial impacts of the proposed change on both Livingstone Shire Council and Rockhampton Regional Council.

The QTC’s financial assessment was finalised in early April 2022 and is available to read here PDF (1.64 MB).

For more information, see the frequently asked questions section below.

Local planning considerations

The Change Commission sought advice from the Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning (DSDILGP) regarding planning matters it should consider in the Livingstone Shire Council and Rockhampton Regional Council region.

In particular, the Change Commission requested information relating to existing planning schemes, future developments and population growth, information about resource sharing or reciprocal use of services arrangements between the local governments, any matters of state interest, and whether there were any other recommended actions regarding planning considerations.

DSDILGP's advice is available to read here PDF (5.12 MB).

Further advice may be sought from the Department or other stakeholders on planning matters as required.

Other considerations

The Change Commission will also consider other matters as part of the review, including those raised in the Minister’s referral PDF (1.28 MB) and those prescribed under Division 1 of the Local Government Regulation 2012.

For example, the Local Government Regulation states that external boundaries should have regard for the following criteria:

  • communities of interest considerations
  • joint arrangements in conjunction with, or instead of a change to external boundaries
  • planning and development considerations, and
  • resource base sufficiency.

What happens next?

Now that public consultation has concluded, the Change Commission is considering the financial assessment, written submissions, survey results, and other available information that relates to the proposed change.

The Change Commission will then prepare a final determination report which will be provided to the Minister responsible for Local Government and published on the ECQ website. The report is expected to be available by the end of October 2022.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

The following FAQs address points in the QTC's report and provide general information about how the external boundary review is being undertaken.

The Change Commission is the independent body established under the Local Government Act 2009 to assess whether proposed changes to Queensland’s local government areas are in the public interest.

For this review, the Change Commission consists of the following members:

  • Pat Vidgen, Electoral Commissioner of Queensland
  • Wade Lewis, Casual Commissioner, Change Commission, and
  • Peter McGraw, Casual Commissioner, Change Commission.

To deliver this review, the Change Commission is administratively supported by the staff of the Electoral Commission of Queensland.

The Minister responsible for Local Government asked the Change Commission to assess a proposal to transfer the suburbs of Glendale, Glenlee and Rockyview from the Livingstone Shire Council to the Rockhampton Regional Council.

Under section 18 of the Local Government Act 2009, only the Minister may refer a local government change proposal to the Change Commission.

The proposal to transfer three suburbs from Livingstone Shire Council to Rockhampton Regional Council may have financial impacts on both councils – whether positive or negative. These could also flow on to residents in these areas.

To gauge what these impacts might be, the Minister responsible for Local Government directed the Change Commission to engage the Queensland Treasury Corporation (QTC) to conduct a financial assessment.

The QTC was asked to assess the viability of the proposed boundary change and worked with both councils to estimate the financial impacts including how the change could affect council rates.

The QTC is the central financing authority for the Queensland Government and provides financial resources and services to the State. The QTC manages the State’s funding program to deliver sustainable and cost-effective borrowings for the Queensland Government, local governments, and other government related entities (its clients). In addition, the QTC works in partnership with Queensland Treasury and its clients to provide financial and management advice.

The Queensland Treasury Corporation's (QTC) report considered the impacts of transferring the suburbs of Glendale, Glenlee and Rockyview from Livingstone Shire Council to Rockhampton Regional Council.

As part of this report, the QTC looked at a range of council assets and liabilities including:

  • 1,266 rateable properties in the three suburbs (residential, commercial, and agricultural lots).
  • 26 council properties comprising mostly open-space assets, as well as a single residential property valued at $0.1 million.
  • $40.3 million in property, plant and equipment for roads, water and parks, including the transfer of the Mt Charlton Reservoir, water main, and other infrastructure servicing the Caves water scheme.
  • Between $4.7 to $8.1 million in debt. This estimated range is due to the different methodologies assumed by Livingstone Shire Council and Rockhampton Regional Council in their financial modelling.

Based on financial forecasts and information provided by Livingstone Shire Council and Rockhampton Regional Council, the Queensland Treasury Corporation’s report found that the proposed transfer of the three suburbs was likely to have a negative impact on Livingstone Shire Council’s financial profile and a marginal positive impact on Rockhampton Regional Council’s financial profile.

The financial assessment also found the proposed boundary change would have a more pronounced impact on Livingstone Shire Council, due to its smaller operating scale:

Livingstone Shire Council operating scaleRockhampton Regional Council operating scale

In 2021-22 Livingstone Shire Council had:

  • 17,923 rateable properties (including those in the three suburbs), and
  • $1.0 billion in property, plant and equipment.

In 2021-22, Rockhampton Regional Council had:

  • 36,086 rateable properties, and
  • $2.8 billion in property, plant and equipment.

In 2024 - 25 the proposed transfer is forecast to:

  • decrease Livingstone Shire Council’s ratepayer base by 6.7%, and
  • decrease property, plant and equipment by 3.7%.

In 2024 - 25 the proposed transfer is forecast to:

  • increase Rockhampton Regional Council’s ratepayer base by 3.4%, and
  • increase property, plant and equipment by 1.3%.

Livingstone Shire Council’s total revenue is expected to decrease by $59 million over the forecast period (2024-25 to 2030-31), while Rockhampton Regional Council’s is forecast to increase by $36 million. This variance is mainly due to the different setting of rates and charges between the two councils.

The Queensland Treasury Corporation report considers both Livingstone Shire Council’s and Rockhampton Regional Council's capacity to manage financial risks and unexpected situations.

It also discusses key financial metrics such as cash flow, operating performance, leverage, debt serviceability and capital funding assumptions.

For more information, see the report PDF (1.64 MB).

Because rates are set by individual councils, it is not possible to specify how rates could change if the proposed change goes ahead.

The Queensland Treasury Corporation (QTC) figures shown below are indicative only and are based on the forecasts provided by Livingstone Shire Council and Rockhampton Regional Council.

These forecasts were provided at a point in time and may be subject to change as part of each council’s annual budget process.

The QTC report indicated the following changes may occur if the full financial impact of the change is passed on to residents:

  • Livingstone Shire Council’s net operating result would be lower by $26.4 million over the forecast 2024–25 to 2030–31 period. This negative impact would potentially equate to $161 per rateable property in 2024-25, increasing to $250 per rateable property by 2030-31.
  • Rockhampton Regional Council’s net operating result would be higher by $5.7 million over the forecast 2024–25 to 2030–31 period. This positive impact would potentially equate to $36 per rateable property in 2024-25, decreasing to $14 per rateable property by 2030-31.
  • Glenlee, Glendale and Rockyview – Rockhampton Regional Council estimates an average rates and utilities bill for the three suburbs would be $4,627 in 2024–25, compared to Livingstone Shire Council’s forecast rates and utility charges of $5,300 for that year. Therefore, the average rates and utilities bill for the three suburbs would be potentially lower by $673 in 2024-25.

These figures are intended to provide an indication of the potential difference in average rates and charges, rather than provide an estimate of the absolute costs to ratepayers.

As the boundary change is only proposed, any terms and conditions would have to be negotiated between Livingstone Shire Council and Rockhampton Regional Council should the transfer proceed (e.g., any cash to be transferred). These details could impact the financial assessment and associated affect on rates.

Further information about these forecasts is included in the QTC report PDF (1.64 MB) (See pages 6, 21-22).

The Queensland Treasury Corporation (QTC) reviewed the following information provided by the Livingstone Shire Council and Rockhampton Regional Council from September 2021 to January 2022:

  • 10-year financial forecasts if no boundary change occurred (business-as-usual).
  • 10-year financial forecasts if the boundary change occurred (change scenario).
  • Underlying assumptions, including each council’s proposed allocation of rateable properties, revenue, staff, contract commitments, one-off and recurring costs, assets, liabilities, and cash.
  • Any third-party financial assessments of the proposed change commissioned by Livingstone Shire Council or Rockhampton Regional Council.

The QTC’s financial assessment did not:

  • Assess the financial impact for Livingstone Shire Council and Rockhampton Regional Council at a council division or business-unit level.
  • Assess the non-financial impacts of the change to Livingstone Shire Council and Rockhampton Regional Council.
  • Determine the allocation of rateable properties, assets, liabilities, staff, or other one-off or recurrent financial impacts.

The financial forecasts were developed by Livingstone Shire Council and Rockhampton Regional Council to support the financial assessment of the boundary review. They are based at a point of time (when the data was provided) and are subject to change.

During this period, the councils were in the process of developing the 2022-23 budget (and 10-year financial forecasts) including considering recent allocations of operating grants and potential impacts on service levels and future rates.

If the boundary change were to proceed, the terms and conditions of any transfer would need to be negotiated and finalised between Livingstone Shire Council and Rockhampton Reginal Council prior to implementation.

Therefore, the actual impact to Livingstone Shire Council and Rockhampton Regional Council and their residents may be different to the information presented in the Queensland Treasury Corporation's report PDF (1.64 MB).

For analysis purposes, the Queensland Treasury Corporation uses 1 July 2024 as the date the boundary shifts for its change scenario.

This date is the beginning of the financial year following the local government quadrennial elections scheduled for March 2024, however it is not an official timeframe.

Should the proposed change be supported, the precise timing of implementation would be determined through the approval and implementation process.

The Queensland Treasury Corporation’s (QTC) financial assessment is one component of the Change Commission’s review.

The QTC report provides an understanding of the potential financial impacts of the change should it be implemented.

However, the Change Commission will undertake a holistic review of the proposed change including other considerations such as community views.

Public consultation on the proposed boundary change has now closed.

People on the electoral roll for the Livingstone Shire Council and Rockhampton Regional Council were offered the opportunity to participate in an elector survey in June 2022.

The survey was open for two weeks. It resembled a referendum format, with a survey question and a ‘Yes’ and a ‘No’ response option. Participation was voluntary and the result non-binding.

Electors were able to return their response by post or by submitting an online form.

There was also a three-week opportunity to provide written submissions to the Change Commission.

The submissions have been published on the ECQ website, subject to publication guidelines, along with the survey results.