Southern Downs Regional Council building. Photo Kerri Moore / Warwick Daily News
Southern Downs Regional Council building. Photo Kerri Moore / Warwick Daily News

IN TOUCH: Rural residents given new voice

A NEW series of council workshops designed to put smaller Southern Downs communities in touch with their local representatives has been welcomed by residents.

The monthly “Connecting with Council” meetings will kick off in Allora on Wednesday, November 4, with Mayor Vic Pennisi, CEO David Burges, and several councillors slated to attend.

An SDRC spokeswoman said the agenda included issues including the possible relocation of Allora Library to the Senior Citizens Centre and connecting reticulated sewerage throughout the town, and any resident presentations of the day.

Former mayoral candidate Joe Doepel hoped the new forum would prioritise connection with rural residents, a change he believed to be urgent during his council election campaign.

“When I went around and talked to everyone, that was the biggest of issue at all – you never got to see a councillor out and around town,” Mr Doepel said.

“The issues in one area are going to be totally different to what’s in another, and this way you’re getting to the bottom of the issues in that one local joint.

“I know from experience that you’ve got to get out and talk to residents, to get those issues from the horse’s mouth, to be able to make the right decisions.”

Cr Pennisi said the move was one he hoped would enable councillors to better engage with and serve their constituents outside Warwick and Stanthorpe.

“The first Wednesday of each month, we’re going to go out into the regional townships like Allora, like Killarney, Pratten, Leyburn, etcetera,” Cr Pennisi said.

“There’ll be opportunities for locals to engage with us, for residents to give presentations, though they need to book, with Covid and that sort of thing.

“It might start off slow and we’re just dipping our toe in the water at the moment, but I predict it might be quite popular as it goes along.”

Connecting with Council in Allora will start at 11am at the Allora Seniors Citizens Centre, with all members of the public encouraged to attend.

To book a deputation or place at the meeting, call 4661 0351.

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