Imagine all the people...

IT will shortly be three years since local government amalgamations.

Several debates currently in the media have me concerned that we have not progressed beyond a “Warwick versus Stanthorpe” mentality, which I acknowledge has simmered along for many years, whether on the football field, in business enterprises or in the pages of newspapers.

We are now one region and it is time for everyone's sake that we move on to regional thinking.

It is a recent media focus on where councillors originate from that has me troubled.

As we all work towards a stronger regional community, I feel this is counterproductive to what the Council, staff and the community is trying to achieve.

Yes, we come from two very different council cultures and the melding of those cultures is at times a challenge to council, staff and communities however, in my opinion, this council and region has progressed well despite those challenges.

The challenges facing individual elected representatives as they operate as regional councillors are immense but everyone has attempted to do their best.

Despite the accusations, no section of the council votes as a bloc and each councillor works to their vision of what they believe is right for this community. The legal, ethical and professional behaviour of councillors and employees has been of interest this past week.

Council values and relies upon the professionalism and integrity of its staff and councillors. The scope for conflict of interest does not just lie with personal or family relationships, but may include involvement in sporting, social or cultural activities.

Quite frankly, it is these involvements in community life that one would imagine create an effective and passionate councillor, attuned to the needs and aspirations of residents.

Likewise, with 420 council employees, inevitably staff will have ties to areas of interest in the community, whether business, school, church or sporting.

I urge the community to focus on the big picture.

Focus on the vision of the Southern Downs community, in particular our directions of making this a great place to live and a great place to work and do business, but most importantly a united region with strong and innovative leadership.

Our vision, “Southern Downs – unique communities – balancing opportunity and growth with refreshing lifestyles” springs to mind.

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