RRC election candidates’ highlight the region's key issues
WITH 11 days remaining in the 2020 local government campaign, Rockhampton Regional Council's mayoral and councillor candidates have shared their answers to The Morning Bulletin's question: "What is the most important issue affecting your division that you plan on addressing if you are elected?"
Mayoral candidate: Chris Hooper
The most important issue today is for the Rockhampton Regional Council to bring people together as a community to get a grip of what is happening in the world today; the virus which is causing havoc to the global economy, bushfires, floods, etc.
If you look at it globally, it is too complicated. We have to look at this locally being the Rockhampton Regional Council working with the federal and state member. My proposed 30 member community based board is crucial for this to happen.
Mayoral candidate: Margaret Strelow
Obviously the thing on my mind at the moment is coronavirus and leading our community through that. Beyond that, a strong and robust future revolves around growth sustainability and lifestyle. To grow our population we need jobs and employees who want to live here. It is a circular argument. The work that we have done to double down on jobs and opportunities and to protect our environment, the events that our team have delivered, and major projects such as Quay St and Kershaw Gardens and Mount Archer and Cedric Archer Park are a part of an interconnected story. There is more to do.
Division 1: Sherrie Ashton
If elected, I look forward to working with the constituents of Division 1 and promoting their concerns and ideas at the council table.
One such matter is the introduction of green waste bins. The household and environmental benefits of this initiative would extend to the entire region. Rockhampton Regional Council is a progressive thinking council of which I would be proud to be a part. It is a council that is willing to be proactive not reactive, embrace new ideas and action them. I hope to emulate the achievements and community works of Rose Swadling and continue her legacy.
Division 1: Shane Latcham
The most important issue raised by the Division 1 community is the increase in juvenile crime. Nearly every day there are reports of houses broken into and cars stolen by juvenile crime groups. Some juveniles are now resorting to using machetes as weapons of choice.
Whilst this may be a consequence of weakening State Government policies, there is a feeling that the local council needs to take more affirmative action to address this problem. As an elected councillor, I will hold community forums and seek to implement strategies to significantly reduce the level of juvenile crime in our Rockhampton community.
Division 1: Vincent Robertson
The main issue, that seems to be the focus of, not only the people of Division 1, but has everyone's attention at the present time, is the rising levee bank costs.
Constituents are concerned that the area of the city they live in will not gain any benefits from the levee. Will the costs be passed on to all ratepayers, should the Federal and State Governments' funding, not cover the full cost of the levee? Where the diverted water end up, and who will be affected? These were the questions most asked.
Division 2: Neil Fisher
It important for Council to be reinvesting in Infrastructure within our community and I would like see the implementation of Council's Minor Stormwater Program if I am re-elected.
The Minor Stormwater Program identified 22 projects in the Rockhampton Region that totalled $2.2M of works. 10 of these are located in Division 2. This would see a real benefit for residents in Venables St, Kavanagh Cr, Balaclava St, Meyenberg Ct, Village Life, Rogor Ave, Archerview Tce, Plahn St, Balaclava/Simpson Streets and Stewart St. I would like to have the opportunity to champion these minor stormwater projects this term.
Division 2: Gavin Shuker
It's not really what I think, it's about getting the community's views on issues and everyone has different concerns depending on their location. People have raised concerns about protection of their properties that are situated against the bushland and national park, safety around schools zones in regards to traffic management, improvement on Mount Archer to make it more of a tourist destination through to road repairs and pathways. Once you have all this information then you can look at prioritising these.
Division 3: Tony Williams
I've always believed that the key to being an effective councillor is to listen, discuss, and then take action. Last election, I committed to improving both the safety and enjoyment of the north side of the river bank with a boat ramp, pontoon, fishing platforms and pathways, after receiving petitions from you. This work will continue with $50,000 in this current budget to undertake master planning and community consultations on what residents would like to see happen on the common precinct.
Division 4: Ellen Smith
Although out of Council's hands, the establishment of a Gracemere High School always comes up as number one priority. There have been various petitions, submissions and Community Cabinet representations over many years. Council has always given their full support. It is a numbers game, and our numbers are growing fast, with many young families making Gracemere their home. Gracemere has a large 'catchment' area with 10 Primary Schools in the area, with 3 in Gracemere. A high school would make the community feel 'whole', rather than see an overgrown, untidy block of land in a prominent position in the town.
Division 5: Peter Anderson
The reduction in basic services. With recent rain events, the drainage in Wandal is not coping. With all the sediment over the years, it's time to clean them out. With only two inches of rain yards and kids and elderly unblocking roadside drains, it's not good enough. With the rural residents, the lack of road maintenance on gravel roads. Roadside slashing is nearly non-existent. With rural waste, rural rate payers should be entitled to discounts to the Rockhampton waste facility. Some of these basic services are being overlooked or underfunded due to emphasis on cultural precincts.
Division 5: Cherie Rutherford
Division 5 is a diverse area with differing wants and needs, however continuing to create an environment that fosters business development and growth, opportunity for new and innovative industries and increased tourism will benefit all areas of Division 5 and assist our entire region to grow and prosper. Expanded tourism opportunities for Mount Morgan such as the Walking/Bike Trail around The Dam and the reopening of the Fire Clay Caverns; support of Agribusiness and the Smart Hubs Incubator Program are just a few of the ways we will achieve this goal.
Division 6: Drew Wickerson
Division 6 is a diverse community and I believe that every single issue that people seek my assistance with is equally important. As we work together as a community through the difficult months ahead, it will be more critical than ever to build upon strong economic development, ensure that our community remains resilient, positive and vibrant and that we all care and look out for each other. I will continue to support Council's current priorities to keep all essential services fully operational while responding to individual requests for assistance with any local government matter.
Division 7: Noeleen Horan
People of Division 7 have spoken, and I have listened. I will represent them in a full-time capacity, engaging regularly and being present at all council and relevant subcommittee meetings. I look forward to dedicating days to community engagement and starting relevant and robust conversations. Together we will ensure Division 7 has a strong and sensible voice at the table. I have the skills and energy needed to advocate and negotiate great outcomes for Division 7 and the entire Rockhampton community.
Division 7: Donna Kirkland
I have observed that the people don't feel their voices are being heard. A great number have lived in the same home for 20, 30, 50 years. One lovely lady has lived 84 years in her family home. These people deserve to see their paid rates at work ... healing grassroots issues across the board.
The most vocalised concern is crime.
This needs to be addressed head on.
I will continue to build relationships with Qld Police working in the same direction, collaborating with service providers and workforce's to do that.