Vision for change
IN PETER Maundrell's eyes, the council must understand finance and budgets, serve the entire Central Highlands community and be open and accountable for its actions.
The chartered accountant and first-term councillor has lived in the region since 1993 with his wife and four children and has owned a property at Springsure since 1967.
He runs the accounting practice Peter Maundrell and Company Pty Ltd, which also offers university scholarships to local students.
"We need an immediate moratorium on FIFO camps and council must uphold its own planning scheme," Mr Maundrell said.
"When the boom was at its peak other sectors suffered from a lack of manpower, plant and capital.
"Now is the time to build and regroup."
With the backing of fellow councillor and current CHRC mayoral candidate Kevin Pickersgill, Mr Maundrell said council rates were too high but the pair believed there was the capacity to reduce them.
"We need a sustainable economy, we can't keep increasing rates," he said.
"With $130 million in the bank and about $69 million in debt let's look at a debt reduction strategy."
Promoting new industry such as the proposed meatworks and the inland freight hub were also high on his agenda.
"We need to make it easier for new business to come here, and we need spend more money on roads while ensuring better spend per kilometre," he said.
Mr Maundrell said the past four years had been challenging.
"It's critical that vital projects get off the ground in a timely manner when the need arises and must include local contractors."
Mr Maundrell does not support the proposed levee bank construction project.
"This will place a huge financial burden on ratepayers," he said.
"Options like raising the dam wall would help protect the town, and open up irrigated land."
Three years ago SunWater approached the council, saying it had re-evaluated its assets and that raw water charges would increase from $47 per megalitre to more than $500.
Mr Pickersgill said that while councillors agreed the cost was "ridiculously unaffordable", they implemented a scheme that had seen Emerald residents pay a special water tax over and above what they would normally pay in anticipation of such an increase.
"I think that this is really wrong," he said.
"The price of $47mL has been frozen and will stay that way for at least another 12 months.
"If elected Peter and I would put that money back in residents' pockets.
"We shouldn't be taking money from people for something that hasn't happened and probably won't happen."
Five-point tourism plan
With CHRC mayoral candidate Kevin Pickersgill, Peter proposes to...
Take over the Fairbairn Dam recreational area from SunWater. This will create a range of business opportunities.
Make the shire RV friendly.
Introduce a $50 seven-day pass for tourists for RV allocated areas to encourage people to stay longer.
Use the funds raised to promote local business such as caravan parks and tourism operators.
Push for an inland regional tourism organisation to include surrounding shires and create a Great Inland Way.