YOUR SAY: Election nominees on infrastructure and region retention
IN THE lead up to your local elections on March 28, we are asking council candidates two questions each week about the region.
This week’s questions were:
What infrastructure, if any, needs to be created or improved in the Central Highlands?
How can the council encourage workers to stay in the region?
Kerry Hayes, Mayor (incumbent)
We have a massive road network that is unsealed, both on local roads and on important state roads like Springsure-Tambo, Duaringa-Bauhinia and Apis Creek, that support our huge agricultural outputs.
I want more funding and I want to fast track the funding that we have.
The next four years will see our town centres reinvigorated and linked to consolidate their core and to preserve their unique identities.
The Game Plan rollout will see our sporting and recreational facilities upgraded, renewed and refreshed as our clubs sign on so that our young demographic gets the best at play.
Improvements to our general liveability and improvements to our connectivity can make the Central Highlands more attractive.
Upgrades to airports, supporting our youth networks and growing our visitor business makes new work and keeps all age groups invested in the region.
Diversity is key and growing our strong industries but incorporating technology is the recipe for success.
Charlie Brimblecombe, Councillor (incumbent)
Whether it is roads or playground equipment, everything needs to be continually monitored and maintained so that the most useful life can be had from that asset.
It is a continuous process of monitoring to get the best from assets for their cost, remembering that there is a price for maintaining and replacing.
Large businesses can offer higher wages but with that comes the restrictions of the workplace. We need to offer a place that has a culture of support that is not only for the worker but their family also.
It needs to be a place they chose to work at because they can be home at night with their loved ones. It needs to be a workplace that is safe and supportive that the family are happy with their partner are working at.
It is about knowing you are useful and acknowledged; that you are part of a team that does great things for a fantastic region.
Joseph Burns, Councillor
Improved water infrastructure, not just in Emerald but for the whole region, would lead to increased investment and employment opportunities.
It would also help secure the region and our agriculture sector in the dry periods.
Making the region attractive to young families, to stay or to settle here, with improved facilities and organised activities designed with them in mind.
Also, lower/fairer rates would go a long way to help the situation.
Anne Carpenter, Councillor
Continue to improve roads. Council must ensure that the roads system allows for business of all types to thrive, bringing the worst roads to an acceptable level regardless of who and how many live along them. Continual improvement will allow businesses to be much more cost effective.
Next on my list would be communications, both in business and council needs to be more in touch with constituents.
Create opportunities for local contractors/workers to gain access to contracts/employment. In an ideal world, local contractors would get contracts in their own localities who then employ locals in their business.
The region has some wonderful technology right on our doorstep, agriculture feeds the world and technology such as Swarmfarm and others are supporting those industries. People will make a life anywhere if they want to. It’s a beautiful part of the world.
Natalie Curtis, Councillor
The facilities at the Fairbairn Dam parklands could be improved to encourage more people to use it. Beautification and paths along the Nogoa River; we have a lovely area in the botanic gardens area, additional walking paths north of the bridge would encourage people to use this area.
As the even time rosters provided by the mining companies allows people to live remotely from their place of work.
With the ability to be in Brisbane or anywhere in the state within a two-hour flight from leaving work gives people the choice on where they can reside.
Some people perceive there is more opportunity in the bigger centres, however, the Central Highlands provide an excellent range of facilities and opportunities for families.
Megan Daniels, Councillor (incumbent)
I support sound infrastructure investments which create ongoing benefits, like building a skate park in Blackwater or a hard shade cover over Capella skate park.
Another example is the need for continuous investment in our water and sewerage networks. Nothing glamorous about these assets and it is easy to take them for granted, but if they are not working you will soon know about it!
In the last four years I have played an active role in many projects, e.g. redevelopment of Emerald Botanic Gardens, Gemfields Treasure Trail to name a few things. There are more projects still in the pipeline.
The reason people relocate to the Central Highlands is jobs; what makes them stay is community and lifestyle.
Council invests in making our communities great places to live and bring up your family.
Whether it is sporting grounds, parks or roads, council has an important role to play.
Bernardine Frawley, Councillor
Water! We live in one of the driest countries in the world.
We cannot stay still, relying on the same water source for our region.
To consider new possibilities such as linking with desalination plants or the new Bradfield scheme.
If these are not the answers, then continue to research and find solutions.
Roads and infrastructure are better now, than 20 years ago, thanks to our predecessors.
Continue to build on this equitably across the region, adapting to new ways and technologies.
Encouraging workers to stay starts with fulfilling people’s joys and interests.
All communities have a variety of interesting groups and programs available.
For example, sport, outdoor recreation, music, art, church and social groups.
Council can support groups to hold introduction or welcome sessions.
Using modern ways to regularly raise awareness to workers and their families of what’s available, how to get involved and be part of it all.
Alan McIndoe, Councillor (incumbent)
Some people will want me to say, new parks, new entertainment centres, flash new widgets … but I can’t. My political campaigning self won’t buy into it.
There is currently over $200 million on our region’s wish list. We are not in a position yet to achieve anything near this. We (CHRC) need to regain our direction on conducting the business of being a local council — things like water infrastructure in Springsure; greater water security in Capella; residential and tourism effluent waste in the Gemfields; infrastructure that protects and promotes opportunity for our people beyond the next four years and into the future. Infrastructure that better connects our people so we too can change the world.
I am committed to changing policy, encouraging infrastructure development in Central Highlands, promoting it as the optimal place for aged living in regional Queensland.
Janice Moriarty, Councillor
Councils are responsible for a diverse range of infrastructure, including roads, footpaths, water and sewerage treatment plants, town halls, waste transfer stations, public toilets, etc.
Council’s urban and rural roads throughout the region needs to be a priority.
CHRC must lobby harder for our region’s ‘fair share’ of state and federal government funding for main roads and highways.
This needs to be extended to water infrastructure so economic and population growth is not being limited.
Encouraging people and families to work and live in the Central Highlands depends on Council delivering vital services to improve and maintain public facilities and open spaces.
Council continues to improve parks and gardens in most towns. However, effective open space planning must be inclusive of all-abilities and ages in all communities to enhance wellbeing and liveability.
Christine Rolfe, Councillor (incumbent)
Providing essential services, such as water and sewerage, to our communities involves construction and ongoing maintenance of infrastructure.
Water and sewerage treatment plants and a whole network of subterranean pipelines through our urban areas.
Keeping this infrastructure, that we cannot see, in good, serviceable condition through all seasons is a priority, and the responsibility of council.
To aid in the economic development of our region is the maintenance and renewal of our road and transport systems.
This region is bisected by State Government-controlled highways north to south and east to west, and over 3000 kilometres of gravel road maintained by council.
Other infrastructure that is a requirement for families includes childcare facilities, schools and medical facilities, for example.
The maintenance and provision of infrastructure provides business opportunities, as well as the need for workers.
Families can choose to live in a regional area, have available all facilities and be connected to the city.
Gai Sypher, Councillor (incumbent)
My focus will be water and sewage infrastructure.
We must have an asset management system that is reliable and identifies the life expectancy of all assets for sound long-term financial planning.
Currently many of the unseen assets are failing or will fail in the near future.
We need to get back to the basics and concentrate on maintaining essential infrastructure which is not pretty or visual but vital in our everyday lives.
Capella needs a permanent water supply and this could be achieved with the renewal of the existing pipeline from Tieri or other options that need to be explored.
Unfortunately not everyone can afford to live here. Rates must not rise beyond CPI over the next four years. We have to tighten the belt and forget a number of glossy project plans.
The cost of rates determines if the region is liveable, not projects that impress the naive.