FAMILY and affordability are the corner stones of former Duaringa Shire councillor Scott McDonell's campaign, in the upcoming Central Highlands local council elections.
"When I saw the state of the Council Budget, the perennial rate increases, and the state of the parks and family amenities when we returned to Emerald, I knew then I would be running," the council hopeful said, when asked of his motivation to run for election.
Having lived half of his life in the Central Highlands, the former Emerald, Blackwater, and Bluff resident has spent seven of the past 12 years in Western Australia.
"It has been an exciting time for my career over the last decade, assisting in the start up of a major player in the rail industry and working on some of the most innovative and expansive construction projects in Australia," Mr McDonnell said.
"However, with the arrival of my two children, it is now about planting roots and watching them grow."
Having returned with his wife Anita Wright, an Emerald native, and two children, five-year-old daughter Isabella, and two-year-old son Sterling, Mr McDonnell said the homecoming had been a relief for the business consultant and contractor.
Having had success in obtaining funding for a new hospital in the Pilbara as chairman of the Pilbara District Health Advisory Committee, Mr McDonnell has strong views on what should be the priorities for the future of the Central Highlands.
"It's about enabling our region - lowering rates as an example enables commerce and helps provide business security, this in turn helps creates jobs," he said.
"We need to encourage an environment for business investment and for agricultural development.
"Racking up sizable debt doesn't achieve this. It forces rates up, and this has the opposite affect of what we need."
When asked about his vision for job creation, his response was succinct.
"We have seen a massive turn off in infrastructure investment in the region," he said.
"The mining construction boom is finished, for them it is now about production.
"We need to focus on the infrastructure of the future. Investments such as Water and agri-commercial infrastructure, and the technologies of the future, like the NBN, transport, and energy.
"Whether that investment comes from the state or the private sector, one thing remains constant; it is up to us to find them, and to provide them with an environment that encourages investment.
Mr McDonnell does not support the proposed levee bank project.
"It's a massive expense to fix a symptom, not the problem," he said.
"To spend $200 million and not leverage it to create long-term investment and development is missing a chance to create generational opportunity.
"I think there are better ways to secure many aspects of our future not just flooding in addressing this issue."
Scott has two businesses - the Mile Five Group, a business development consultancy and his new business Butcher's Bay, a domestic and international supply for red meat.
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