UNANIMOUS SUPPORT FOR SELECTING 500 RESIDENTS FOR SURVEY ON DIVISIONS

I remain perplexed over comments made regarding the 500 resident Community Satisfaction Survey undertaken last year which included a question about the retention or abolition of divisional representation. The responses to the question were quite clear to the extent that 78% of coastal responses were in favour of retaining the divisional system with 22% opposing it.

On 16th December last year and notwithstanding the results of the survey, Council voted (8 : 3) to ask the Minister to abolish divisions.

A previous article on this issue including a full breakdown of the responses can be viewed here.

The comments that are causing me some confusion relate to the assertion that 500 residents does not represent a suitable percentile to get an accurate degree of feedback. In this regard the following facts should be noted:

  • The survey was conducted by Market Facts Pty Ltd, an independent and highly respected company which conducts similar surveys for numerous government entities across Australia.
  • Market Facts conducted similar surveys for the Bundaberg Regional Council in 2009, 2010 and again in 2014, all utilising a 500 resident sample divided into a fair and equitable target number from various communities throughout the region. This ensures that no single area with a higher density of population can dominate and skew the results.
  • The 500 resident survey was agreed to by all 11 Councillors on each occasion prior to the surveys being conducted.
  • Councillors provided input into the wording of the question itself to ensure that it wasn’t misleading or ambiguous in any way. The final wording on each occasion was also agreed to unanimously.

What confuses me is the fact that the questions regarding the 500 sample are now being raised after it was signed off by all Councillors and after the results of the survey were received.

My view on this is pretty well straight forward…..

The rules surrounding this survey were set and agreed to (unanimously) and in accordance with professional independent advice obtained at ratepayer’s expense.

It would therefore seem appropriate to abide by the Ref’s decision and in this instance I believe that the Ref is the community itself.

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