by Alexia Austin
Former Balonne Shire mayor Donna Stewart has voiced her concerns on the distribution of Maranoa Regional Council time and money in a letter to The Western Star.
In the document, Ms Stewart said she believed the smaller town centres in the region were being overlooked, using the Goondiwindi council visit last fortnight as an example.
"Not surprisingly Surat, Mitchell, Wallumbilla, Yuleba and Injune did not rate a mention and were omitted from this enlightening guided tourism tour,” Ms Stewart stated.
Speaking to the Star, Ms Stewart added she believed her concerns weren't isolated.
"Surat is where I live, so I'm speaking for Surat,” Ms Stewart said.
"I feel as if they do not show enough interest in our community.
"It's about time they recognised each of these little towns covered by the council have their own identities.
"The rates have increased and people wouldn't mind if we were seeing value for money but we're not seeing that return into our community.”
"I feel that we are subsidising Roma, and I would imagine that other areas surrounding Roma feel similar.”
Maranoa councillor Cameron O'Neil said the council was working to provide opportunities across the region.
"In terms of the overall budget we are a large shire geographically and in terms of allocating significant resources this makes it a challenge,” Cr O'Neil explained.
"There is a long list of what the community wants us to achieve, not just in Surat but across the region.
"Whenever I make a decision around the council table I am making it for the greater good of the Maranoa region as a whole.
"We try the best with the resources we get to have a good spread of them across the region.
"I myself have introduced mobile offices this year and we have numerous council out and abouts, where all councillors travel across the region to give residents opportunities to interact with us.
"With the tourism, it is a balance, we wish to keep travellers that extra night anywhere across the Maranoa.
"In addition the Goondiwindi councillors did visit Surat earlier that day.”