Daryl Stewart, at the Tiaro Bridge on the Mary River, wants to right the region’s wrongs.
Daryl Stewart, at the Tiaro Bridge on the Mary River, wants to right the region’s wrongs.

Hopes to solve regional issues

MANY things need to be righted in this region and it may be on the cards that Tiaro’s Chamber of Commerce president and former councillor Daryl Stewart will run for higher office and set about fixing them.

“We need to get the region together and stop the rubbish about 'Maryborough does this' and 'Hervey Bay does that',” said the outspoken one-time Mungar pig farmer who is now the livestock co-ordinator for the Kewpie group in Kingaroy.

“I eventually fought very strongly for no divisions in this council. You look at 60,000 ratepayers and 10 councillors and it doesn’t take long to realise you therefore need 6000 votes in each division.

“You were never going to make up the quota in Tiaro and Woocoo from the regional area without some city population in there.

“That means if you needed $100,000 spent on a back road of Gundiah because the locals couldn’t access anything and Hervey Bay wanted a new flower bed at the Boat Harbour Drive roundabout, you can see where the $100,000 would go.”

Daryl says that while our rural and regional areas may not have the population of the two major urban areas, they provide a surprising amount of employment and contribute greatly to the productivity and economic output of the whole region.

“These regions have largely been forgotten since amalgamation because it has been publicly perceived that Hervey Bay and Maryborough have more pressing needs because of greater population concentrations but the reverse is actually true.

“Those people also pay their rates to FCRC, the same as urban dwellers and deserve to be considered when the developments are handed out.

“Our residents expect a fair go from our council.”

The Brisbane-born father of three, who gained a diploma in animal husbandry from Gatton and worked across the Tasman and around Australia for Huttons until Sir Ron Brierley corporate raided it and there was no more bacon to bring home, settled on the banks of the Mary River intending to devote the rest of his life to pig farming.

“Imports soon killed that dream two years ago and even today 70 per cent of our total ham and bacon of 18kg per capita per year is imported – and subsidised.

“There is no support at all for primary producers. Farming will die and we’ll be importing our food.

“I won’t be encouraging my three children to go on to the land.

“Most governments don’t govern for the people; they govern to stay in power.”

Daryl is fiercely pro-Tiaro and pro-rural. He says the Great Sandy Biosphere has the potential for huge benefits and massive international recognition for the Fraser Coast.

“We want to form a not-for-profit incorporated body to run the Biosphere on behalf of the community, which must have community ownership and be community driven.

"We asked FCRC to be on the management committee of what would be Great Sandy Biosphere Inc. and were told by one manager in the presence of a councillor that a five-year business plan would have to be submitted before it would even be considered.

"Further, another councillor said that FCRC has no money and that they would not be interested until the Biosphere proved that it could make money.”

Also high on his wish list are the development of an environmental park for camping, canoeing, kayaking, and fishing at Armstrong’s Crossing.

“And I’d like to see a Mary River freshwater co-operative research and interpretive centre highlighting vital research and interpretation of freshwater flora and fauna from all parts of the country.

“There is no such facility in Australia. This could include a native animal hospital, education centre, restaurant-cafe, river tours and river walks.

“Let’s have a major professionally operated visitor information centre on the outskirts of Tiaro.

“Tiaro is not only the gateway to the Fraser Coast, the only town in the Fraser Coast that is actually situated on the Bruce Highway, but also the gateway to the rest of Queensland for traffic travelling north, and the gateway to south-east Queensland for traffic travelling south.”

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