LINDSAY was a stock inspector with the DPI for more than 30 years. His family has been farming in the area for generations.
■ I will give you better transparency in council decision-making.
■ I will examine the rates structure in relation to council budget requirements.
■ I will be accessible to discuss residents' issues.
■ Capital expenditure on roadworks will be better distributed across the region.
■ I guarantee all towns in the region have a good clean water supply.
■ I will build the region through attracting small and large industry to the area. I have integrity, a good work ethic, honesty and personal drive, all of which, if I am elected as your mayor, I shall give of my utmost.
• There is a concern about bureaucratic control stifling the power of council. What way is there to stop top management from having so much control? Is the red tape in the planning department stopping development? Does the CEO have too much power?
I understand community frustration with what appears to be inaction of top management in the council. I am of the understanding that bureaucracy at local, state and federal levels has an overwhelming influence domestically. I cannot comment on the power of the CEO; however, I believe in the power of a committed Mayor who leads his council for the benefit of the constituents.
Mayor/ Councillors = 9, CEO = 1.
• CSG issue. Would you as mayors move to protect the region? Do you see opportunities for this region to benefit from CSG or only dangers?
I do not see any long term gains and benefits by allowing CSG to operate in our region. We must think - long term NOT short term. We are managers of a great land, not rapists of the earth.
• The key to a successful team is its members. Pick your team of eight councillors with a brief explanation of why. Pick your deputy. Who wouldn't you have?
I cannot give a definitive answer to this question. It is up to people of this region to vote their representatives in. I trust I have the skills to be able to work with any group of candidates.
• What would be your five specific priorities in your first 100 days after election?
Look over the budget (that is already set); familiarise myself with each department with intent to find ways to improve; meeting with staff, upper management and councillors with the view to share vision, direction and goals; introduce portfolios for councillors; inform constituents of progresses made within council using media and visiting areas of our region.
• How would you support and encourage council and the wider community to shop locally? What do you think about the current shop local campaign? How would you address the issue of Warwick businesses being used for Stanthorpe jobs and vice versa?
I personally support local businesses and would encourage staff and wider community to do so publically, via media and utilising council website. Liaising with business owners, Chamber of Commerce and tourism group's and relevant government departments council should find ways to support, encourage and assist business and industry of our region to grow and prosper.
Second part of the question I don't really understand the feeling or motivation behind it. I will say though, we are on region now.
• There is a fear council jobs in the south are being whittled downs by natural attrition and indeed the office could close. What will you do to ensure council jobs still exist in Stanthorpe?
I have no intention of supporting the closure of Stanthorpe Council Office, it is needed. I would not like to see further job cuts to the region. My aim is to see Southern Downs grow and prosper.
• What is your opinion on deamalgamation?
I do not support deamalgamation. To change it would be a cost we can't afford. However, I do support better representation through councillor portfolios and implementing P.R. initiatives to all council staff.
• There was an obscene rate rise in last budget. Was it acceptable, what would you do to ensure no more of the same?
No further rate rises can be accepted. I believe it will take years before people can recover from them. Better management and allocation of funds, streamlining processes, efficiency to deliver, minimising need to use contractors and consultants are but some in assisting no further rate rises. I will put pressure on state government for budget increases, grants and assistance. We must employ a new way of thinking and doing things, it is time for a change.
• What do you think council needs to do to facilitate business and help business growth in the region?
Council needs to be aware of business and industry requirements. Improved communication, streamlining processes and operating departments more efficiently will help. Council may be stifled by state and or federal bureaucracy in some cases. Council need to promote our region to the broader areas with the view of encouraging people to live and work here, tourists to visit and industry to invest here.
• WIRAC would you privatise. Mowing of sports fields in either end of region?
WIRAC needs to be kept and maintained. Its facilities are vital to our community. I would consider an offer from PCYC should they wish to purchase. This then would release council funds and we would have the assurance of its continuance as PCYC is a government /community organisation and would be well supported financially.
• Tourism. What do you think of the current tourism structure? What is your vision for tourism in the region?
Some areas in the region have got it right in regards to promoting and selling themselves, but others need help. Council is obligated to support, promote and encourage business, industry, trade and community as a whole. My view is we need to improve and grow tourism for the whole region.
• What parts of the community plan would you implement as a priority? How would you do so? Have you read the community plan?
I have read the community plan in part. I see it as requirement and a useful tool as a guide but not an absolute. Therefore, I would need further consultation with councillors, higher management, relevant department personnel and community before prioritising.
• How would you cut the budget? Do you have the economic skills to put together a budget in such a short period of time?
I am not privy to the current budget and as I have not been in council before I do not have the relevant information to comment on where buts can be made. However, I do believe costs can be minimised through better management, which I do have experience in. The budget for the next term has already been set by the current council.
• Which council sporting fields/facilities/complexes within our region should council maintain as part of its community obligations.
I do not have the necessary information to comment. I would review parks, sports and recreation grounds usage and maintenance requirements; review lessees and sublessees agreements; review costs and budget allocations.
• Have you recently been to a Southern Downs Council meeting? If so, what did you learn, if not how do you know what to expect from your job?
Yes, I have been to council meetings and found them very interesting. I have sat on various committees and boards in the past so I have some understanding.
• Your biggest achievement in the last four years and biggest mistake.
This question was not directed to new candidates, so I refrain from answering.
• Why should we vote for you?
A vote for me is a vote for change.
Know this I am hardworking, honest and approachable. I will lead and bring together a hard working team of councillors who will work diligently in helping us deliver a transparent, effective and efficient council for its constituents. I have extensive experience in working within a government department and skills I have gleaned from that will hold me in good stead for the position of mayor.
• Tell us your vision for the region.
My vision is many, but firstly I want to move this region into growth and prosperity. I want to protect its uniqueness and promote sustainability; encourage business and industry; assist development; promote our region nationally and internationally; create opportunities for our youth and disadvantaged; provisions for the arts and culture; improve essential services and facilities (particularly medical).
This region I believe should be the jewel in the crown.
*Answers have not been edited