Hervey Bay Chamber of Commerce meet the candidates forum, Aquavue - Independant candidate Jannean Dean.
Hervey Bay Chamber of Commerce meet the candidates forum, Aquavue - Independant candidate Jannean Dean. Valerie Horton

Get to know your candidates: Jannean Dean, Independent

THE first political issue Jannean Dean wants to tackle, if elected, is ensuring "good governance” and a strong foundation for democracy in her electorate.

The independent candidate for Hervey Bay said this week that she was passionate about the provision of an "appropriately empowered and resourced body” for Queensland which was solely focussed on being a political watchdog, covering misconduct, crime and corruption.

"Only the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) model (pre-2016 amendments) achieves the level of deterrent, scrutiny and convictions that are acceptable to the public,” she said.

"If elected, I would be urgently calling for a proper state and federal ICAC. That's the first thing that has to happen. We need accountability, and current deterrents aren't good enough,” Ms Dean said.

"The importance of good governance is the cornerstone to democracy, transparency and accountability. We must get the foundation right, otherwise everything else will remain flawed.”

Ms Dean, a mother of one adult son, said she was devoted to serving her community, and if she was not elected, she would continue to "educate and inform”.

"This is not about me ... it's about me serving the community.”

Born in Gippsland, Victoria, as a middle child of six, Ms Dean said she was raised by a mother whose moral compass "never wavered”.

Ms Dean moved to Hervey Bay in 1996, attended Wide Bay Tafe, and has currently put her studies for a Diploma of Counselling on hold while she works as a full-time "community advocate”.

The election hopeful said that after a serious car crash in 2009, which critically damaged her eyes and left her completely blind, she became determined to forge a future in politics.

"My eyesight deteriorated until I was completely blind due to damage to the optic nerve and other areas of the eyes. Several operations later, and with continued treatment my vision has improved. Still having an impairment, I am unable to drive and reading is troublesome and problematic. All my technology is voice-activated.

"I have always been a people person and wanting to help where I can and am able. Listening was a skill I took to a whole new level as I was not bamboozled by images and could actually focus directly on what was being said.”

Ms Dean said she has been instrumental in creating awareness and exposure to the brown coal mine fire at Hazelwood and joined several political social media pages and groups in protest at the "disgraceful” way it was managed and the risk imposed to people's health and livelihoods.

She said that as "a woman of faith” - she was raised Catholic, has been involved with Anglican church in Hervey Bay, and her son's father is Muslim - she believes serving her community is "all about love”.

"Going to church doesn't make you a better person; it's all about how you live your life.

"I believe in God, and I've got purpose and that's to serve, and set an example and walk the talk. But I'm flawed as well.”

In 2014, Ms Dean introduced herself to council via Public Participation as she sought to establish practical partnerships with locals and work on local issues.

"From this meeting, I noticed there were some matters that needed questioning and investigating, and from there I took on all local government issues. I joined and supported many community groups across the entire Fraser Coast and networked, with many Australia-wide.”

Ms Dean said that she became increasingly involved with her community, growing her own awareness of issues, and accumulating information which she could pass on to others.

"My message is clear: I represent accountability for government at all levels, providing a voice - a real voice for the people of this great state. My record shows that I'm not only passionate about my community, but committed - and for no monetary gain - but rather a sense for the greater good of all our lives.”

She said she wants to be a "catalyst for change”, and said the Fraser Coast "is in the best possible position to show the rest of Australia how it can be done”.

A firm believer in the development of sustainable agricultural solutions, Ms Dean said sustainable industries are the way forward for protecting farming land and water.

"We are right in the middle of a food bowl. Supporting our farmers and boosting our economy are integral to our sustainability for the future. And it will create jobs, jobs and more jobs.

"We must commit to getting serious about developing an approach that properly addresses planning and protection of our prime agricultural land. We have it all here and we need leadership in harnessing the existing infrastructure,” she said.

She said the preservation and protection of waterways was vital, as was backing for farmers, water security, the protection of the environment and the stimulation of the economy and jobs creation. 

"I believe there is a need for young leaders to be engaged in finding sustainable agricultural solutions to the growing global need for safe, nutritious food.”

She also advocates for decentralised government departments so "our children would not have to leave the region and they would have everything at their fingertips to reach their full potential with the support of their family and friends”.

Ms Dean, who united with the community to protect the Pialba Memorial Hall and have the Pialba Memorial Cenotaph State Heritage-listed, has also successfully campaigned for live streaming of council meetings.

She is a strong advocate for medical cannabis because "people are suffering needlessly” and this week described the "heartbreak” she felt when spending time with children who live with debilitating diseases and conditions.

"Not being able to help them by allowing them to have medical cannabis oil, knowing this miracle plant would have nothing but a positive impact on their health and wellbeing, was extremely upsetting.”

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