In July 2007, the Local Government Reform Commission released its report into the proposed amalgamation of local government areas in Queensland. The Premier said:
‘There are too many inefficient Councils struggling to serve their communities’.
The report agreed, and recommended that the three areas of Barcaldine, Jericho and Aramac amalgamate. All three councils were rated as weak to moderate in terms of financial sustainability, and the three areas were believed to form a collective community of interest with the town of Barcaldine serving as a regional centre with commercial facilities and an airport. All three councils opposed the amalgamation, with Aramac putting an alternate suggestion together with the Shire of Winton.
On May 8, over 1000 people from the central west gathered in Barcaldine to protest. Banners from at least sixteen different shires were displayed around the showgrounds and passionate words were spoken, declaring no intention of:
‘capitulating to a handful of desk bound bureaucrats in Brisbane’.
A fighting fund was agreed to by some of the more determined shires. After debate Barcaldine contributed $25,000 to the fund but in the end resistance from both ‘inefficient’ councils and those forced to absorb them made no difference. The amalgamation went ahead.
On 15 March 2008, the three Shires formally ceased to exist, and elections were held on the same day to elect councillors and a mayor to the new Regional Council. The name of the Council was debated for some little while, eventually being settled on Barcaldine Regional Council.
The council is undivided, with six councillors and a mayor serving the whole region.
Towns and localities
The Barcaldine Region includes the following settlements:
· Barcaldine Downs
· Home Creek
· Saltern Creek
· Tara Station
· Cornish Creek
· Pelican Creek
· Upper Cornish Creek
· Pine Hill
· Port Wine