LAST CHANCE: SDRC candidates appeal for your vote
THE future of the Southern Downs will be decided at the local government elections tomorrow, on Saturday March 28.
Prospective councillors don't require any formal qualifications but the Queensland Electoral Commission suggests an active interest in community issues, good communication and negotiation skills, and business or financial management skills.
In the lead-up to the mandatory elections The Daily News aimed to provide daily insight into candidates' experiences, ideas, visions and priorities.
Candidates received a question each weekday, for which they had 24 hours to respond, within a word limit, before the paper went to print.
Should these councillors receive the public vote, they will have no shortage of issues with which to contend.
Fires, drought and potential flooding posed complex problems for the region over the past 12 months, and with a global pandemic looming, there are greater challenges to come.
The final question asked:
"What is the number one reason residents of the Southern Downs should vote for you during this election?"
"The continuation of the great achievements our whole region has benefited from these last four years. I have worked to represent everyone in the Southern Downs and give everyone a voice. I've made mistakes, certainly; but overall our huge successes have helped residents and businesses throughout the region. The drought is not over, we still have water shortages, there is the potential for a difficult bushfire season ahead, and we have coronavirus. There is much more to do and I have the plans in place. It is my energy, ethics and commitment that will see us through. "
"I am no snowflake I will not melt when the heat is on. As your Mayor my vision for the future is growth, and I am asking for comment from our council candidates to put there hand up and commit. My bigger picture is Important, However in my travels I have to ask you to contact your councillor reps to insure the election of a strong forward thinking council with a view to the future and shovel ready projects. We need to take a broader view to plan and build LONG TERM sustainable infrastructure to help in the growth of the whole shire."
"I am totally independent of any vested interests, I have no sponsors behind me, who want a return on their investment. I have no donors, I have no master to answer to, my interest is the Community's interest first. I saw the strategies and decided the region needs an alternative, to spiralling council rates and water charges, secrecy, bullying and poor service, someone who will lead debate and make decisions for the community's benefit after full consultation. I can fix this, just give me a brand new council."
"If you think the mayor you need right now, has skills and proven ability in LISTENING, TRANSPARENCY, TRUST and acts WITHOUT ARROGANCE then vote for me.
I have dedicated most of my campaign to LISTENING, to actually sitting down and empathetically trying to understand your needs. I am not a distant mayor. My Listening policy will not change. In a crisis we need to listen, not just talk.
If we do not TRUST our leaders then they are not true leaders, they are just authoritarians. I am a leader who wants to lead with trust.
I have been incredibly TRANSPARENT during this campaign, I do not delete comments on Facebook to make us look better, the criticisms have all stayed and are fair comments.
I operate with HUMILITY, I take advice, I act in moderation. I do not act with arrogance."
BARTLEY, Ross Trevor
"The old adage that 'Self-praise is no recommendation', should be applied to this question.
I believe that the reason Candidates attract votes is, as a result of what they can bring to the table, by representing the community to the best of their ability.
If you have explained those reasons and presented yourself appropriately during the current campaign period, then you may be rewarded by being elected to represent our region as a Councillor.
Hopefully we get a community connected council which make decisions in an open, fair and transparent manner."
"My crisis experience and decision making are my strengths and more importantly I care about The Southern Downs Region.
From the very first da, y of campaigning I have posted that honesty is important. I would look out for others needs before my own. I would do the right thing and I would be honest. I will put you first. People that have met me in this campaign have said that I am a good person, that I have a brain. There is nothing fake about me. I just here for you. Vote #4. And whatever you do thank you and take care."
"You know what, I can talk about my business, innovation and tourism skills, and I can talk about my farming and transport family background.
However, what drives me to immerse myself in local committees and charity support work is you. I stand up for you and others in the community who feel they have no voice. I stand as a councillor for you.
So, if you want a councillor that is solid, dependable and gets things done in times of adversity, I'm the one."
"I believe I can bring a diversity to the council; because of my farming background I think differently. I can look at a problem and imagine various solutions to the problem that will differ from anything my companions may bring to the table. Some problems will require a professional opinion which will be considered and voted on appropriately. All residents must remember that they can approach me anytime to discuss any concerns that relate to council; I am a very good listener and I will try my very hardest to address those concerns with the other councillors."
"That's easy, I am the complete package.
•A successful business owner,
•A family man,
•A person who "gets stuff done",
•An enabler and promoter of causes and, above all,
I don't tolerate;
•The vermin in our society that go out of their way to profiteer, harass and intimidate the elderly, the weak, the infirmed and the vulnerable.
I want an inclusive community that helps and looks out for everyone. That's why I am standing for the SDRC Council as a Councillor."
"Because Andrew Gale will make you his priority.
We talk about the 3 R's of council, Roads, rates and rubbish.
I have another 3 of my own. For "Councillors" as opposed to "Council".
Restore, Represent and Respect. "
"I will offer clear and honest communication. Your message will be heard and delivered. I look forward to working in a team environment with a Mayor and fellow Councillors who tackle present issues confidently while focusing on our region's future prosperity. Priorities will always dictate outcomes, but people power generates the energy that steers local government. We will need to care for each other, support those in need, and keep our region's economy and community in the best health possible. Unity. Pride of place."
"Stability. I have an agribusiness background, training up to a national standard and experience through the Rural Fire Service in disaster and emergency management and 16 years experience in local government. If elected I will do everything I can to secure the best possible outcome for the sustainability and future of the Southern Downs and Granite Belt. With my experience in local government, emergency management and over 30 years experience in agribusiness I want to bring as much stability as we can achieve for our region."
"I have a number of reasons for putting myself forward as a candidate for council and there are a number of reasons why I would be a worthy and effective councillor. The main one comes down to experience. Having worked as a school Principal for many years and as a Board Director I know how bodies such as the Council work, I know how to make tough decisions and I know how to listen. I want to use my experience and negotiating skills to help create a better, more open and more collaborative Council for the people."
"For over 30 years I've advocated for community with many positive outcomes for absolutely no monetary gain or personal agenda.
Why have I done this off my own bat for so long … because I care passionately for the community & greater good, working hard towards bettering our region as a rate payer.
With past experience, integrity, honesty & commitment, I can achieve more on the inside of chambers than I can outside."
HARROLD, Amanda Joy
"My slogan is "working for you". I have been actively working for the community over the last 8 years as secretary on community groups, reference panels and associations including the Stanthorpe & Granite Belt Chamber of Commerce. I have a deep understanding of corporate governance through my time on the Chamber which will help me in the role of Councillor if I am elected. I have learnt a lot about the community and I am ready to take the next step and represent the broader region and work for you!"
"My entire working life has been related to the water and wastewater industry, where public consultation and satisfactory outcomes are paramount for modern community standards.
A career, of 35 years in local government operations, has given me an appreciation of expectations, in a regional area deserving of recognition.
Secure water infrastructure, along with safe and efficient waste management, will ensure an overall environmental outcome, that all residents expect, should they reside in urban or rural locations.
Experience, along with respect, is a standard I will deliver, in representing a community working together for the prosperity of the Southern Downs Regional Council."
JENSEN, Michael Damian
"The experience I have gathered over my working and volunteer life is the number one reason why residents should vote for me as a Councillor. Over the past 35 years I have owned and operated successful accommodation and retail businesses, enjoyed an extensive banking career, and sports administration career. I have been a volunteer committee member on numerous sporting, tourism and business organisations over 20 years.
I have extensive understanding of governance, financial management, strategic planning, grant funding, and sports administration. This experience will assist me in making informed decisions if I am chosen to represent the community as Councillor."
JOHNSON, Gregory Glenn
"I will focus on water security for the Southern Downs. That means I will work hard to ensure we have a guaranteed water supply (as much as it can be guaranteed). I will push for a water grid for our region that connects all our water storage facilities. There is discussion of late about a pipeline from Toowoomba to the Southern Downs. I am behind this move also. These initiatives will ensure water for residents, farmers and tourists visiting our region."
"I have proven my ability to make balanced, thoughtful and considered decisions.
I come to the SDRC table with only a desire to serve our diverse community.
I have no personal agenda, or preset allegiances.
I have demonstrated experience in the community, public, private and business sectors.
I have always acted for those who are overlooked and not heard.
I am not afraid of stepping forward, to see what can be realised and achieved.
If you trust me with your vote, I promise to do the work that is necessary to positively shape our Southern Downs."
"Elections belong to the people and I encourage everyone who is yet to vote to carefully consider, not only the next four years, but, to consider the future of the Southern Downs and Granite Belt ten, twenty, thirty years from now. I am proud of this great region and the positive outcomes of the past four years. I have the experience, proven record and courage to make the hard decisions to ensure the community's overall interests are considered. I offer myself for re-election because I care about the future of this region now and for generations to come."
"During this election campaign the overwhelming message that I've been hearing from voters is that the current council is out of touch with the day to day concerns of everyday ratepayers. People are tired of the closed-door, secret meetings, tired of the council's combative attitude and tired of seeing opportunities slip away, strangled by red tape and slow administration. I will bring the council back to the people with a down to earth and practical approach to matters. I will ask, how can the council help you? I want to open the doors and bring humanity and caring back to the council."
"My heart is in the Southern Downs region and it is strong enough to assist to provide strong leadership in the council that will empower us for the future. I am not afraid to persist in what I believe the electorate needs for betterment of the region. My non bias means that I will be working for the whole region and not just where I live. I intend to bring unity to the council so that we have power and better decision making and not division and costly diversions.
Hence, my catchcry, Move Forward with Unity!"
"Given the series of challenges that Southern Downs Region has faced over the last 12 months from droughts, floods, bushfires and now COVID19, the Southern Downs needs a strong leadership team to represent the public interests. My strong leadership style is underpinned by extensive Tertiary qualifications and experience in the farming, military and government sectors. When you vote, please vote for a better future for the Southern Downs Region."
"I have no personal agenda, I want to represent our residents to deliver their visions for their communities. Our Region is a perfect mix and urban and rural living which offers opportunities for growth to existing businesses as well as the establishment of new industries. All communities across the Region need growth to ensure we can keep delivering improvements to our infrastructure assets like water, waste, sewerage, roads, sporting and cultural. I am proven Councillor that is fair, informed, experienced, progressive and a committed team player and I will work hard for you to ensure your vision comes to fruition."
"I fully understand there is a lot of uncertainty and concern about how we should deal with what happening in relation to jobs, making an income to put food on the table and pay bills etc. etc, during these challenging times.
We are heading into some unprecedented and difficult months ahead.
I will support any relief or help that the council can provide to residents and work towards making it safer for the community. I will also advocate for any State and Federal assistance that they can provide to assist with getting life back to normal as quickly as possible."
"I firmly believe I can do a significant job for Southern Downs community as a Councillor.
I have a thorough understanding of our region, it's highlights and complexities.
Given my eight years local government experience and long standing community commitment, I feel I have what it takes to be a dedicated & conscientious representative with the best interests of the community at heart."
"In these unknown times of crisis, I would urge you to vote for me and the current Council. For stability, knowledge of what Council is presently doing, and what is being put in place to move forward.
I believe that I have done a good job, and am looking forward to working with the community on what lies ahead. I love this region, and I want to make it a better place for all of us.
Water security will be my priority.
You will need to find a few new faces to fill the spaces left by others.
"I'll strive for CHANGE.
My campaign slogan has been "Let's Change It", so expect me to try and implement some changes in policy, delegations, transparency, respect, consultation and vision for the region. If a substantially new team is elected it will be my privilege to serve four years with them cooperatively and constructively as we implement positive and needed changes."
"I said from the beginning if you are looking for a councillor who is going to stand and talk for hours, then I am not the councillor for you. I believe in fewer words and more action. I believe in the voice of the residents being head and I come armed with ideas on how that can occur.
After bushfires, drought and now COVID 19, this region is screaming for strong, fair and compassionate leadership. Listening to you over the past four weeks has shown me council needs to regain its integrity.
I promise, if elected, I will not let you concerns go unheard and I will not be afraid to stand up each one of you."
"It is difficult to sum up this question with only one reason why residents should vote for me. The role of a Councillor requires many attributes, and skills, which I have always used, to guide me in meeting my obligations, as set out by the Local Government Act.
If you re-elect me, as a Councillor, I will continue to carry out the role with integrity i.e. the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles, and I will be totally committed i.e. an act of devoting time, effort, resources, or energy to a particular undertaking."