LSC Election questions for candidates
How can you improve disaster management in the region?
Andy Ireland: Better allocation of roles. No individual should be able to control all aspects of a disaster. Is it not better to delegate the key personnel of the relevant agency to run the disaster preparedness and response? Although the Mayor is the Chair of the Local Disaster Management Group, his/her job is to provide assistance to those experts to enable them to do their job effectively. Policy making will be in consultation with the personnel "on the ground" rather than academics or those with no expertise in disasters. Heightened communication between the Disaster Management Centre and personnel working in the field. More effective communication between the Disaster Management Centre and the community. Better care for the victims through the following: involvement of locals as part of the Recovery effort; better communication for victims of the disaster; better co-ordination and activation of disaster centres.
Bill Ludwig: Council has been one of the most proactive Councils in Australia in regard to continuous improvement of our disaster management processes. This has been reflected with high commendations for our handling of major events including the 2014 Yeppoon flash floods, TC Marcia, and a number of significant major fire events including the recent Cobraball fires. LSC is widely recognised as a leader in disaster management from our state-of-the-art disaster management control centre at the Hub at Beaman Park to our leadership role in hosting community awareness and information base in relation to community disaster awareness and readiness. Our use of technology with messaging to the community using mobile phones and the embedding of university certificate and graduate students with Council teams and multi-agencies when major training exercises are undertaken. My commitment of this culture of high achievement will continue.
Lynelle Burns: My plan for delivering infrastructure for our community includes building multi-purpose community facilities with commercial-sized kitchens and bathroom facilities which include adult changing rooms for people reliant on hoists and assistive shower technology. These centres can be used for community events, as meeting places for social and not-for-profit groups, and as youth centres. During disaster events, they can be used as evacuation centres. This ensures each community has quicker access to safe shelter, disaster response teams have access to kitchens and showers, and displaced people of different abilities have access to appropriate facilities for their dignity and self-care.
Leah Grice: I think we did a fantastic job with our disaster management - we can always learn and improve of course. All disasters will be unique and require adaptability and different management. With reduction of fuel in fire prone areas we will need residents to be proactive as well. I know our firebreak made a big difference in the recent fires.
Scott Tarratt: Keep maintenance of infrastructure up to date and provide adequate clear access for emergency crews and give support if asked for local knowledge and guidance. It takes more than one person, it takes a whole community to rally together, give support to each other and help out others.
Athol Keanalley: Not aware that it needs improving. Would be subject to advice from authorities.
Tanya Lynch: I currently believe our current Disaster Management plan is working effectively and efficiently and something they should be very proud of. Having lived through many natural disasters in my time here, council have been outstanding in their frontline approach. We could look at possibly co-sharing options regarding expertise, equipment and knowledge. The Hub is a world class outstanding service that the Shire offers and executes with priority and professionalism.
Mathew Peach: The trick is to get everybody on the same page, not an easy task. There are some very strong passionate personalities involved all-round. But their experience runs into hundreds of years, and Council should respect that. Improvements are constantly evolving, and there must be a platform or body that allows input from all. That's why Full-time Councillors are so important, they can be part of a conduit to assist developing and adopting great ideas.
Rhodes Watson: Disaster management should be completely in the hands of a specialist like council officer David Mazzaferri. Councillors and the Mayor should stay out of the way because it becomes political and the elected believe it becomes a photo opportunity.
Nigel Hutton: To be honest, I'm incredibly proud of how our community has grown and in some ways been shaped by its recent response to the natural disasters which have occurred since 2014. We are stronger, we are better educated and more resilient in knowing our own capabilities and not needing to wait for someone to save us. It's a credit to the whole community. We can always learn from these events and do better. The interoperability of services, agencies and even community groups continues to improve with practice and experience. A key focus for me would be to ensure the continuation of public open days, participation in drills and training and engagement with our new residents and schools to share the wisdom of experience to help ensure no one is left in the dark.
Glenda Mather: This can be better answered by those personnel who make up the emergency services ie Police, State and Rural Fire Services, SES. Unlike disasters of late, these services need to be on the same page in relation to familiarity of each other's rolls and should be able to "fit in" to a situation due to combined training and knowledge of the areas. Gaps in the system create their own disasters. Listen to those troops on the ground, especially the rural firies. They have intimate knowledge of their areas and are best to lead and control. Regular combined meetings and training will remove any "them and us" feelings.
Leo Honek: Consultation with local emergency services is key, as they are the ones on the ground when disaster strikes. We can find out from them what's working and what isn't, and work with them to implement suitable plans of action. I would also look around and see who's doing things well and incorporate applicable learnings in our own shire. I think the recent fires have highlighted the importance of maintaining fire breaks and reducing fuel loads through cool burning.
Pat Eastwood: To improve disaster management it is important to work closely with the community to discuss what hazards and risks there are and how we can mitigate those hazards and risks. We also need to work hand-in-hand with the Local Disaster Management group. In doing this we can plan for disasters that may or may not affect Livingstone and make sure that we have a response capability that is ready for the next event. Learn from our mistakes and tick off our successes.
Stephen Bird: We need to improve our road networks so people can get out safely when the need arises, and emergency services can get in. From here I'd be happy for our emergency services to do their job. They are the experts. After the event we then need to review what happened and decide what we could do better next time and then provide an enhancement of resources to deal with the next disaster that comes along. I have a mate who along with his wife lost their house in the recent fires. They were notified by text message to evacuate from their house 5 hours after it had already burnt down. We can't let this happen again it is people's lives we are dealing with here. Let's learn from our past to help us into the future.
Andrea Friend: Council has incredibly dedicated staff to assist the public in disaster management. They are contactable through council providing information/support to answer any questions. An open day provided each year. www.livingstone.qld.gov.au Homepage shows Disaster Dashboard that is activated in times of Emergency. Enter the word Disaster Management into the search engine on the top right hand side of the homepage and this will open further important information. Now I have advised the community I believe that improvement lays with further education. Communication before seasonal disasters. Reminders sent through text, email, and mail, when entering Storm/Fire season. Allow and reduce fuel reduction material.
Mike Decman: Promote timely door to door assessment of concerns of affected people after disaster for Councils better response. Review location of Disaster Management Buildings as being above Storm Surge forecast potentials for sea and Climate changes.
Ensure Shire Bushfire Mapping and Planning are current. Educate owners and builders of bushfire and vegetation overlays Bio Flora and Flood. Advising of Council and Government mapping tools when initially purchasing or occupying as most freely available.
Suggest Council press insurers for responsible timely rebuilding to building codes and standards instead of 'early payouts' to those who may not understand reinstating homes properly compliant for building and reinsurances.
Keith Sully: This is an area that is already being well served by the standing committee in ways of funding etc. More friendly use of the Hub and more community involvement is required as each area in our Shire has different needs in times of various disasters. Again roads become a vital means of access and escape and while on the coast we are somewhat more protected the more remote sections of the Shire could be fatally caught out if the speed at which a fire can spread exceeds the speed at which they can safely travel routes out without the potential for fatalities occurring. Simple but yes that is what it is - KISS
What do you believe can be done to expediate power and water to Great Keppel Island?
Andy Ireland: This is a leading question, in that it assumes candidates support the supply of power, water, and internet to GKI. I acknowledge that Great Keppel is a key component of tourism in this shire and support its development. But let's wait for the outcome of the negotiations between the State Government and the Altum Group before committing to anything.
Bill Ludwig: Livingstone Council has been a prime mover in lobbying with both the state and federal government to secure critical enabling trunk infrastructure for projects like GKI. It was Councils initial lobbying and direct representations both administerial and local member level that have to date secured $31.8 million of funding towards the now required $62.5 million total cost which will also importantly include high speed optic fibre which combined will make GKI one of the most competitive and viable tourist island destinations on the entire Barrier Reef. Councils direct involvement on the steering committee has brought us within striking distance of securing the final commitment of balance funding we anticipate will be announced in the forthcoming state government budget.
Lynelle Burns: I'm not sure it should be expedited at this point. I recognise that the current residents, business owners, and Woppaburra people deserve some certainty, but if the resort lease transfer does not proceed, I think as a community we need to revisit what we want GKI to represent into the future. It is a magnificent place, and I would love to see an eco-resort using world-class, sustainable practices and technologies. Until the scale of the resort development is clear, we should not push forward with infrastructure that may be beyond what is necessary to support the anticipated population.
Leah Grice: Not our money - I understand there is money there from the State Government, but I would like to see a different approach such as an environmental centre. Eco tourism huts self-contained and powered with water tanks are incredibly popular now in other parts of Australia, I would love to see it investigated further here.
Scott Tarratt: Before any such project to be undertaken, all infrastructure and maintenance issues need to be resolved as does debt levels, infrastructure is to be built in the future, needs to have a direct return of income to the Council so as the ratepayers don't have to pick up extra costs. If such a thing went ahead are the ratepayers responsible for repairs, especially if these lines to the island float to the surface? What is good for the state is not always good for Council. I am not convinced this is in the best interest of our Shire.
Athol Keanalley: Great Keppel Island is a "Gem" in this locality. I wouldn't think 'power' is the responsibility of Council. There is something wrong when, to encourage a major developer, Council must extend itself to supply infrastructure or services that it hasn't provided to existing businesses and residents. My view is that Council should facilitate development but leave it up to developers. Of course, Local Governments like the Gold Coast don't mind spending their ratepayer's money on big enterprise, but it gets back to what is the basic function of a council. On the subject of water, I think it would be possible to develop a desalination plant that would be low cost to manufacture and negligible cost to maintain that could serve places like GKI and maybe Stanage Bay.
Tanya Lynch: GKI is with the State Government regarding funding. Currently a developer is in due diligence proceedings with development prospects. Should a proposed development on the island move forward, I believe the State Government will deliver the funds necessary so there is access to power and water which would be welcomed by current businesses and community members on the island.
Mathew Peach: Ever played "Watch the pea" on a street corner? That's what both Federal and State Government are doing now. The State is spending millions on consultancies to appear that they are doing something. The Feds are also watching the pea a bit. The only way to stop the pea is to hold their hands still and force exposure of the pea. Right to information applications will clear the bulldust.
Rhodes Watson: GKI is a state matter initiated by the state government and LSC should not be involved financially in any way.
Nigel Hutton: Personally, I believe this is beyond the responsibility of our community, however as advocates and agents for action on the jewel of Keppel Bay recognising its catalytic impact locally. Council must continue to act in good faith in supporting the public private partnership which will see these services provided to the island to meet its future needs. Without resolution to this significant infrastructure question, I find it hard to imagine any developer could progress the scale of project demanded by the conditions.
Glenda Mather: The GKI leases are under the control of the state government, and any discussions or agreements with parties are strictly confidential, not even privy to Council.
My understanding is that no lease agreement has been signed to trigger these services, and Tower Holding is still very much in the picture. We are all speculating at this point in time, and Council should not be making any investment to supply water or power in these circumstances. The $25M pledged by the state will be a drop in a bucket compared to the real costs, and ongoing maintenance, for which Council has no experience. This is not the responsibility of the shire ratepayers. Emu Park would need to build a bigger water reservoir to supply any demand offshore.
Leo Honek: I would love to get this process rolling ASAP; we need to answer a few questions before any work begins: How much is it going to cost to get power and water from the mainland to GKI, and who is paying for it? This needs to be fully costed before any work is done. Who will be responsible for the maintenance? What are the alternative options? Alternative energy sources with backup generators should be investigated thoroughly as there's a good chance it would be more cost-effective, as well as more sustainable.
Once we've got these details, we'll be one step closer to making it happen.
Pat Eastwood: Now the Business Case Study has been completed, we know what we are in for. The cost is $62.5M and the state have promised $31.8M. There is a big shortfall, and nothing is going to happen unless the State or the Feds come up with dollars. One thing is for sure and that is Council can't afford to put up any bucks to help fill the gap. There is no doubt that having power and water on 'tap' private sector investment is much more attractive. Altum are keen to go and the State Governments made the promise to connect. The future of Keppel is looking better.
Stephen Bird: I believe we now need to continue to lobby both the State and Federal governments until this project comes to fruition. Especially now that the State has sent on the business case costings to the Federal government, we need to see the rest of the money so this project can advance for the betterment of our shire. Whether the money comes from the State or Federal government via grants or wherever, it just needs to happen.
Andrea Friend: Altum Property Group are in due diligence phase to take over the Tower Holdings lease of GKI. This phase has taken three months yet DNRME awaiting further financial information to assess Altum's ability to adhere to the lease conditions. No contract signed. State Government already pledged approximately 31.6 million dollars for the connection of water and power to the island. The Federal Government is yet to pledge support awaiting cost figure from the state. Another approximate 25 million dollars is needed. If no Federal funding, are rate payers to contribute? Engagement with the community is necessary, when Altum are shovel ready, then expedite power and water to GKI. Given that the wheels are in motion for this jewel in our crown, the next council must unite as a team for benefiting progress, increasing tourism, creating jobs, while satisfying all ratepayers.
Mike Decman: While now progressed, we review cost and capacity for growth. Do it once and properly soon. Sewerage waste line to the mainland is environmentally important. Even in its heyday the Resort had apparent issues and environmental impacts. Co-ordinate and Combine the services with building public access and facilities as priority by Council and State providing public jetty and proper solid beach ramp for mobility maintenance and emergency. While expensive initially are necessities for this prominent place. Keppel Island many kindly refer to as "My Island in the Sun". A magic place we should be proud and protect environmentally. Island development overseen by Council and indigenous Owners not by State leases.
Keith Sully: This is an area that the current Council has been well on top off and are now pushing for Federal funding as well to bring GKI closer to being a more ideal investment and development proposition. My primary concern here is that all the well-established lines of communication, interaction with various politicians and numerous government departments must be maintained and kept up to date at all times or we risk this sliding backwards. The funding for the land-based infrastructure and supply of water has been granted I believe and must be done in time to meet the State's commitment. Essentially the efforts of the last 6 years are "close" to fruition, but any slip could be extremely disadvantageous at this time.
Livingstone Shire Candidates for the 2020 Local Government elections
Candidates as they will appear on the ballot paper