Giving region voice
"THROUGH and through local" and life-long Central Highlands resident Gail Godwin-Smith has plenty to be proud of nearing the end of her first term as Central Highlands councillor.
Now running for re-election come March 19, Gail has every intention of bringing forward the priorities which have remained the core of her decision making over the past four years.
Among them are improved fairness in rates, upgrades in repairs to road networks, the diversification of the economy, a responsible and affordable approach to flood mitigation and improved transparency and communication from the council.
"Our communities need strong, forward-looking leadership and a commitment from elected members to work hard, listen and respond to the needs of all residents they represent," Gail said.
Throughout her lifetime in the Highlands, Gail has fulfilled various National Resource Management roles, but believes her future lies in helping shape the future of the Central Highlands.Offering an extensive explanation of her vision moving forward, Gail made clear her stance on affordable and responsible flood mitigation decisions.
"While the final report on costings is being presented in June, from what we have seen to date it would strongly indicate that the cost of levees will be significant," Gail said.
"I am not in favour of a levee system that will financially cripple our council and overburden the ratepayers."
Raised on a cattle station west of Springsure, Gail and her husband Howard Smith are now part of a family owned and operated beef cattle and dry land cropping operation just south of Rolleston, where they have raised two grown daughters Abbey and Kelsey.
Gail has also worked in education during recent years, and balances her 10-year role as a first responder for QAS, 15 years with the SES and is as a Specialist Member in Road Crash Rescue.
Her community involvement extends over the 120,000km travelled during her term to connect with residents across the region, which she vowed to continue.
"While we recognise Emerald is the hub, there are 12 other communities that can feel forgotten by their elected representatives."
Taking local issues to the wider political arena will also be a focus for Gail, who said the council has a responsibility to fight harder to secure State Government funding which could help fast track planned infrastructure, provide stimulus to the region and assist in growing tourism.
"Over 6000 jobs have been lost in the resource sector in the Bowen Basin, in comparison some 200 jobs were lost at Clive Palmers Nickel Refinery in Townsville," she said.
"The State was very quick to throw a stimulus package to support the Townsville region.
"We need to fight harder for our fair share and lobby the State Government to fast track planned infrastructure projects to provide stimulus to our region."