Where your mayoral candidates stand on local issues
WITH less than five days before nominations close, your mayoral candidates have had their say on some of the Fraser Coast's hot topics.
George Seymour, Darren Everard, David Dalgleish, Tony Pantlin and Jannean Dean have announced they will contest the region's top spot on May 5. The Chronicle asked candidates questions on some of the region's major issues, from the development of the Sport Precinct to how they would restore harmony in council ranks if elected.
The questions, and your candidate's responses are below.
1. What is your current stance on the Fraser Coast Sport Precinct in Nikenbah?
2. If elected, what do you plan to do with the development of the Sport Precinct?
3. Many in the community have complained about the lack of employment on the Fraser Coast region - how will you bring investment into the region to encourage job growth?
4. If elected, how will you encourage developers to invest in the Fraser Coast at a time when developments in the region appear to be declining?
5. Many in the community have repeatedly suggested the council has been divided based on political allegiances and a so-called "voting bloc” among councillors - are you or have you ever been a registered member of any Australian political party in the past?
6. What assurances can you give voters that political preferences will play no part in your mayoral campaign or term as mayor if you are elected?
7. Throughout the past two years the council has been plagued by disharmony and infighting - how do you plan to address this if you are elected?
8. What are some of the main projects or ideas you would bring to the council which you feel have not been already suggested or proposed?
1. I have supported this project since its inception. This is more than just about sport - this is about planning for the future needs of the community and a modern, multi-purpose entertainment precinct.
2. I see this project as the base of vital economic development as this project develops.
3. My vision is to protect and enhance our lifestyle while rolling out the welcome mat for new business and industry, Federal and State government partnerships. Employment has changed and local government is caught in the middle on this matter.
Employment creation is everybody's job in all levels of government.
If elected on May 5 I have a project that I would roll out to government and business and remind them that we are the Fraser Coast and we need their support to assist in creating jobs; council cannot do it all on their own.
I am dedicated to our region and it continuing to grow and prosper. In many cases the best thing governments can do is get out of the way, simplify the processes and support small business which is the historic jobs generator.
4. I do question if development in our region is declining as many of the trades I talk to are busy and have work in front of them. I have been and will continue to tell people we are open for business and we are here to help.
The construction industry is the third largest employer in the region so this contribution needs to be acknowledged and supported.
5. As I have stated in the past I was a member of the LNP. I see no role for political allegiances in local government.
The council is about getting on with the higher levels of government for the best outcome for our community which is what I am committed to doing.
Local Government is the government closest to the people and there is no tolerance for party politics. The community that we represent expects us to get along on everybody and act in their best interests at all times.
6. For the past six years I have passionately represented the interests of our unique community above and beyond politics. I offer strong independent representation that is in the best interests of our community.
7. The lack of leadership has caused some issues in the past which is what has motivated me to stand for mayor. Strong democracy encourages robust debate but at the end of the day the best interests of the Fraser Coast must always be fought for by elected representatives.
8. The Fraser Coast is ideally suited to take advantage of its competitive advantages and potentially become the home to business being squeezed out of the South-east corner due to population growth and a lack of affordability.
We as a region need to be sure that we are ready to look after the needs of any businesses that are thinking of relocating. With the continued upgrades to the Bruce Hwy, the Fraser Coast is becoming more attractive to business and nearer to the South-east and we need to be ready to take these opportunities.
We are blessed with two jet-equipped airports, strong tourism assets and a beautiful natural environment. Our two major cities complement each other. Maryborough has a proud manufacturing history that the region needs to sell to the rest of the world and I am ready to make this happen.
1. This project has already been decided by the current council. I believe it should have been more centrally located in our region.
2. I will approach sporting groups in the community and stakeholders across our whole region to create a plan that will fully utilise these new facilities.
3. It saddens me that the Fraser Coast Regional Council has been shadowed by chaos and controversy.
I will focus on restoring credibility to our council to attract business and investment to our region.
First, we must offer a stable and proactive environment that instils confidence to developers and businesses.
4. Restoring confidence in the Fraser Coast Regional Council is paramount.
This is a huge public relations repair job, that will involve inviting different industries and investors alike to meet with myself, fellow councillors and council executives in a united stand, to explore new possibilities and opportunities that benefit our entire region.
I will work tirelessly to restore credibility to this council.
5. Yes, I have in the past but not for many years. I am now running for mayor as an independent.
6. I can 100 per cent guarantee there will be no political interferences in my role as mayor. I have always stated, there is no place in Local Government for party politics.
7. I will stand strong, side by side with each councillor offering support and leadership so we can get on with the job of running this council.
8. Investment and employment is of course paramount, but I will also be actively pursuing a strategy for securing a fresh drinking water supply for our region's future growth.
1. I support the council working with the community to increase sports participation. This means investing in facilities.
If we want to have healthy and active children we need to provide sufficient sporting facilities to cope with the growth of the region, and this is what these new netball courts, fields and facilities do.
2. I will work with all sports bodies to increase participation. I want to see a healthy and active community.
3. We need to be advocates for existing businesses across the region such as manufacturing, tourism, retail, health and agriculture while making the Fraser Coast an attractive place for new businesses to set up. The first step in this is to have a stable council that gives residents, visitors and investors confidence.
4. Over the past two months while Acting Mayor I have met with the building and development industry and the overwhelming thing they desire council stability. They need to know that we are stable and addressing matters in a professional and methodical manner. This has been one of my priorities since being appointed acting mayor two months ago.
5. I have been a member of the ALP for about 14 years, however this does not affect my role with the council. We are all elected as independents and serve as independents.
If you look at the different divided votes over the previous few years, it is not about any allegiance and it is different councillors voting together on different issues, as they should. We vote on the issue, there is no politics involved.
6. Political preference has nothing to do with council. I have worked well with governments and representatives of different political parties.
7. As the Acting Mayor over the past two months, I think I have addressed this. We require a conciliatory leader who can work with anyone, who looks to unite and not divide. I value the skills and abilities of my team and want to see them succeed.
8. I would like to see the council play a stronger role in helping our community to be healthy, active and engaged. This can be through free activities in our parks, interesting programs and events at our libraries and ensuring that we have an engaged and informed community.
1. Because of the controversy, this subject will be settled once and for all by conducting a community poll/referendum.
2. It will be dependent upon the outcome of the community poll/referendum. If it is to proceed, full disclosure of the development will be provided to the public with opportunity for community consultation as this particular site has not been to community consultation, this will need to take place. Dual purpose ie entertainment centre so all can enjoy not just sports lovers.
3. The Fraser Coast has abundant untapped resources that have been known to the past council and not acted on. Using these resources jobs will be created.
4. Developments have been declining because of the discontent in the executive ranks of our council. By clean-slating past issues and working together to improve the relationship and regain trust from the community, developers will be encouraged to invest in a piece of the massive growth.
5. I ran in the Glenn Lazarus team as an independent. As an independent my focus is serving the people of the Fraser Coast.
6. This is a statement of fact - I am here to serve, the residents are my priority. I will put the "local” back into Local Government. There is no room for party politics.
7. As mayor I will be enacting a clean-slate practice. All previous behaviour and actions that have hindered the Fraser Coast in the past will be forgotten; however that also means that there will be a zero-tolerance practice where anyone breaking the law, acting unethically or abusing any system will face disciplinary action.
Also, transparency and community consultation on all local government matters to foster trust and confidence from the community.
8. Enviropath Industries is a whole new industry in design that needs council's support to bring unprecedented growth into our area. This growth will open our region to the world and dramatically increase sustainable small to large business and job opportunities.
I would also decentralise government departments.
1. I supported the acquisition of the sports precinct land as this was a wise cost-effective move considering the growth of this great region. Growth in sport activities across the Fraser Coast is inevitable, healthy and promotes and grows our economy. The prospectus I viewed on line from council was somewhat deficient in respect of future participation and financial commitment by many sporting bodies across the Fraser Coast.Part of the debate for the urgency of the project was based on some sporting clubs requiring larger improved facilities urgently. It is now time for these sporting clubs to turn vision into commitment and demonstrate that the decision to develop stage one was the right one for the Fraser Coast.
2. Council is awaiting a new business plan, and should this plan, after rigorous due diligence, demonstrate a positive outcome for the whole Fraser Coast community, then I will support with the commitment of the sporting clubs a timeline to progress this development further.
3. The community is on the money here, unemployment/ underemployment is simply a result of supply and demand issues.
The balance can be impacted by increasing supply or reducing demand.
4. I don't agree that in general investment is declining. Statistics show the number of buildings constructed across the Fraser Coast indicate that activity was highest about 2007. The low point was about 2011 and there has been a modest steady rise since then, however we have still not returned to pre-GFC levels.
Unemployment statistics suggest that much of the post-GFC recovery has been accommodating job-hungry residents.
This imbalance has resulted in rising social issues and placed pressure on our youth's self-esteem.
The heavy industry and engineering base in Maryborough is suffering and has been for decades.
This issue requires input from all levels of government and I will be advocating strongly to achieve outcomes that address this issue. The Bombardier train debacle is an example of this.
5. I agree there is no place for party politics and bloc voting in council and there is an opportunity to improve here. I am a self-confessed moderate conservative and belong to the LNP.
Those who know me well can vouch that I have made many submissions to Local, State and Federal governments and that I am not a puppet to any faction right or left.
6. My campaign is not funded by any political party, I am working hard with my own money to secure your vote.
I operate through the front door of trust as my family has done for almost a century across the Fraser Coast and not the back door of deception.
7. This dysfunction was identified in the January 2017 CPEM Organisation Review and by Stephen Johnston.
The current councillors are doing a great job in their individual portfolios, it is just leadership that is missing.
I have many years of experience delivering and self-developing in leadership, change management and building teams with a large Government Owned Co-operation.
8. I will create and personally fund from my salary a mayoral fund that will be used to provide further training in the areas of leadership, change management and teamwork.
The councillors already have substantial skills but we can always do better.
This initiative is about creating excellence in leadership and team play and earning back the trust of the community.