GETTING MORE INVOLVED: Rhodes Watson will run for a place as Councillor at the Livingstone Shire table.
GETTING MORE INVOLVED: Rhodes Watson will run for a place as Councillor at the Livingstone Shire table.

Watson jumps on election trail for Livingstone elections

RHODES Watson is a familiar face across the Capricorn Coast, through his community engagement and multiple high-profile roles, and now he is taking the next step by running for a place at the table in the 2020 Livingstone Shire Local Government elections.

Rhodes grew up at Kinka Beach, went to Yeppoon Primary School and then Yeppoon High. He went on to marry his wife Stacey and together, brought three children into the world.

Rhodes said he began his interest in community work at Meals on Wheels and, as his children got older, continued with fundraising for their school.

“At Yeppoon High I doorknocked for pie drives and helped at fetes,” he said. “With that sort of start it was no wonder that, when solar panels became the big thing, I set up a non-profit co-operative group within Livingstone Shire and Rockhampton that took this region into the future.”

Over two years, the volunteer group solar purchasing collaboration was recognised by Rockhampton Regional Council with the 2012 Australia Day community Service Award.

With two of his sons at Farnborough School, he saw a way to take the P & C forward by updating the annual fete.

Elected president, Rhodes oversaw fundraising that resulted in the school hall upgrade, which is now used by his youngest son.

No stranger to media, Rhodes began his publishing career working with his parents on the Capricorn Coast Mirror, first with deliveries, working his way up to become a photojournalist, sales rep and advertising designer, winning a statewide award.

“I worked at the Morning Bulletin in roles ranging from chief photographer, journalist and became the Morning Bulletin correspondent from the Yeppoon office,” he said.

“That career came to an end when seeing so many friends from school and work days in body bags after car accidents caused a bout of post-traumatic stress disorder.

“It’s not something that is easy to live with, but it has given me an insight into the world of fellow sufferers and an understanding that life’s not easy.

“When the time was right, I re-entered the workforce with my own successful sign-writing business with my wife Stacey,” he said. “We sold the business.

“Always aware of the need for an income with a young family, I drove taxis in Yeppoon for 12 months, a fascinating time meeting so many people, many with different outlooks. You learn a lot about people driving a taxi.

“From there it was a short stint as a rep with an education business, quickly rising to general manager, until the Federal Government changed the way the business was to operate which caused my redundancy.

“Released from that position, I reassessed my life and decided it was time to return to what I love, newspapers and publishing, starting with What’s On Capricorn then opening a trio of Snippets publications in Park Avenue, Allenstown/The Range and Berserker/Frenchville.”

“When the removal of single use plastic bags was introduced by the State Government, my wife and I saw a need for a local grocery bag and the Livingstone Bag was created.

“Printed on both sides of the bag are Livingstone Shire place names to promote our region to anywhere the bags would travel.”

Through his publishing, Rhodes said he became concerned about the cost of food for low income families on the Capricorn Coast.

“In April 2018 Food Relief Capricorn Coast Inc opened the doors with the help of 20 dedicated volunteers who put in many hours every week,” he said.

“Food security is a situation many people don’t want to admit to. This service has become part of the Capricorn Coast and supported by many of the residents.

“When the fires burnt our shire last November the Food Relief shed became a redistribution centre.

“Many of our community dropped off clothing, food, furniture and pay it forward vouchers.

“The support has been humbling and it shows our community cares.”

Forty years ago, his father John Watson wrote a story about how our shire exported seafood, pineapples and our children.

Thirteen years ago, Rhodes wrote a similar story about job security in our shire and found little had changed.

“Our community can’t carve a future on casual employment. We need more part time or full-time jobs in our region,” Rhodes said.

“We have to get back to basics …. roads, rates, rubbish and recycling.

“I’m an entrepreneur, a forward thinker and am passionate about our shire. We have to secure a better future for our community.

“I ask you to give me a chance to show how I can work for you putting forward your thoughts in the council chamber.

“I will ask the hard questions and I will move to make sure the infrastructure benefits are spread across the Shire not just on the coast.

“Everyone has a different impression of what happens in council and its work in the community.

“Put me in council and my one vote just might be able to do something about it.”

FACTBOX

Livingstone Shire Candidates for the 2030 Local Government elections

Candidates so far:

Mayor

Bill Ludwig

Andy Ireland

Lynelle Burns

Councillors

Andrea Friend

Leah Grice

Nigel Hutton

Adam Belot

Pat Eastwood

Rhodes Watson

Glenda Mather

Robson Wovat

Leo Honek

If you are planning run in the upcoming Local Government elections in March contact trish.bowman@capnews.com.au



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